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WOODEN LEG, A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER, HOLDING A 
RIFLE CAPTURED BY A CHEYENNE COMPANION WARRIOR AT 



A WARRIOR WHO 
FOUGHT CUSTER 

Interpreted fcy 
THOMAS B. MARQUIS 



Illustrated 




MINNEAPOLIS 

THE MIDWEST COMPANY 

MCMXXXI 



COFYBIGHT, 1931, BY 

THE MIDWEST COMPANY 



Printed in the United States 



"I OFTEN THINK THAT IF I WERE AN INDIAN I WOULD GREATLY 
PREFER TO CAST MY LOT AMONG THOSE OF MY PEOPLE WHO 
ADHERED TO THE FREE OPEN PLAINS RATHER THAN SUBMIT TO THE 
CONFINED LIMITS OF A RESERVATION, THERE TO BE THE RECIPIENT 
OF THE BLESSED BENEFITS OF CIVILIZATION, WITH ITS VICES 
THROWN IN WITHOUT STINT OR MEASURE." 

from paffe IB of General Oiutor 9 * book, MY Lm ON TOT PLAINS. 
published 1876. a few montht before hif death. 



The Author's Statement. 

The Indian story of Ouster's last battle has never 
been told, except in a few fragmentary interviews 
that have been distorted into extravagant fiction. 
There were no white men survivors of that most 
thrilling of American frontier tragedies, so the 
veteran hostile red warriors have exclusive posses- 
sion of the key to the mystery as to how it happened. 

The present author, sixty-one years old and a res- 
ident of Montana throughout the past forty-one 
years, decided in 1922 to apply himself at probing 
into this matter. He served a few months as 
agency physician for the Northern Cheyennes, a 
tribe allied with the Sioux in the annihilation of 
Custer. Since then, the investigator has been in 
close association with these Indians. He has learned 
the old-time plains Indian sign-talk to a degree en- 
abling him to dispense with interpreters, except in 
rare instances. He has held out continual invita- 
tion for Ouster-battle veteran warriors to visit his 
home, partake of his food and smoke his tobacco. 
After a long siege, they began to come. Later, they 
began to talk, but only a little. Still later, after they 



THE AUTHOR'S STATEMENT 

had found out that this ingratiating white man was 
not scheming to entrap them into fatal admissions, 
they told the whole story. Not only did they answer 
all questions, but they added spontaneous informa- 
tion concerning every detail of the battle and of the 
entire hostile Indian movements during that event- 
ful summer of 1876. 

Sixteen hundred of these Montana Cheyennes 
were with the Sioux horde in the battle camps be- 
side the Little Bighorn river. All of the Sioux were 
settled soon afterward in the Dakotas, and they 
stayed there. The Cheyennes were located on a res- 
ervation in the heart of the region where had been 
the conflicts. During the subsequent more than fifty 
years they have viewed over and over the central 
historic spots. Thus they have kept their memories 
fresh or have kept each other prompted into true 
recollections. This advantageous condition has ren- 
dered them the best of first-hand authorities. Up to 
late 1930, seventeen Cheyennes who were adult 
warriors at Custer battle were yet alive. 

Wooden Leg became the author's favorite narra- 
tor. It seemed that his lifetime biography should 
surround his special battle story, so that readers 
might learn what kind of people were the hostile In- 
dians of that day. Hour after hour, on scores of 
different occasions in recent years, the elderly white* 

vi 



THE AUTHOR'S STATEMENT 

man doctor has sat enthralled by the well-connected 
and vivid sign-talk recountings of this companion so 
congenial. Wooden Leg's gestures often were sup- 
plemented by his dainty pencil drawings and by his 
sketched maps papers now treasured as precious 
documents. A few stray English words from his ex- 
tremely scant vocabulary of them were besprinkled 
through the efforts at full expression. 

The principal story-teller's statements of essential 
facts have been amalgamated with those of his fellow 
tribesmen who fought as companions with him. 
Groups of them, with him as the leader, took the 
author many times into assemblage. Thus all points 
of importance have been checked and corroborated 
or corrected. The helpers have been Limpy, Pine, 
Bobtail Horse, Sun Bear, Black Horse, Two Feathers, 
Wolf Chief, Little Sun, Blackbird, Big Beaver, White 
Moon, White Wolf, Big Crow, Medicine Bull, the 
younger Little Wolf and other old men, as well as 
some old women and a few Sioux, all of whom were 
with the hostile Indians when Custer came. 

THOMAS B. MARQUIS, M.D. 



vu 



Contents. 

CHAPTER PAC 

I BOYHOOD WILD DATS 1 

II ROAMERS IN THE GAME LANDS 20 

III CHEYENNE WAYS OF LIFE 56 

IV WORSHIPING THE GREAT MEDICINE 123 

V OFF THE RESERVATION 155 

VI SWARMING OF ANGERED INDIANS 177 

VII SOLDIERS FROM THE SOUTHWARD 193 

VIII ON THE LITTLE BIGHORN 208 

IX THE COMING OF CUSTER 217 

X THE SPOILS OF BATTLE 258 

XI ROVING AFTER THE VICTORY 272 

XII SURRENDER OF THE CHEYENNES 295 

XIII TAKEN TO THE SOUTH 310 

XIV HOME AGAIN ON TONGUE RIVER 325 

XV A TAMED OLD MAN 348 

XVI CLEARING THE DOCKET 375 



Illustrations. 

Wooden Leg, a warrior who fought Custer, holding a rifle 
captured by a Cheyenne companion warrior at Ouster's 
last battle Frontispiece 

FACING PAGE 

Stone pen used by old-time Indians as lookout shelter for 
sentinel. This one is on a hill overlooking Tongue river, 
near Ashland, Montana 28 

Cheyenne women setting up a tepee 76 

A Cheyenne sweat lodge 112 

A* Cheyenne woman tanning 112 

Wooden Leg making Custer battle drawings for the author. 220 

Limpy, a Cheyenne veteran of Custer's last battle, standing 
at the Little Bighorn ford where the Indians crossed to 
meet the Custer soldiers 240 

Big Beaver, a veteran Cheyenne warrior, standing at the 
spot where he saw the last Custer soldier killed, June 
25,1876 296 

Wooden Leg, his wife and their daughter, in 1914 . . 360 

MAPS 

Camp sites and other salient points in vicinity of Custer 
battlefield, Montana 387 

Sketch map of hostile Indians 9 course of travel in Mon- 
tana, 1876 389 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT 
CUSTER 



Boyhood Wild Days. 

Seventy-three years ago (1858) I was born when 
my people were camped by the waters of the Chey- 
enne river, in the Black Hills. Both of my parents 
were of the Northern Cheyenne tribe of Indians. My 
father had two names, as often is the case among us. 
He sometimes was called Many Bullet Wounds, be- 
cause of such marks of warfare on his body. But 
his preferred name was White Buffalo Shaking Off the 
Dust. My mother's name was Eagle Feather on the 
Forehead. Marriage during the old Indian days did 
not change any woman's name, so all through her 
lifetime this same term was used for her. 

My father's father went to Washington, as a dele- 
gate from our tribe, before I was born. He was known 
as No Braids. The differing words to indicate my 
grandfather, my father, my mother, and myself show 
our old way of keeping individuality, regardless of 
parentage or marriage. My brothers and sisters each 

1 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

had a name different from mine and from our father 
and mother. 

I was known, during my boyhood, as Eats From 
the Hand. But this baby name was set aside during 
my youth. The change came about in this manner: 

On a certain occasion, many years before my birth, 
the Cheyennes were camped on the western side of 
the middle part of Powder river. At this same time 
the Crows were assembled on a branch of what now 
is known as the Mizpah river, which flows into the 
lower part of the Powder river. They were only two 
or three days of travel from our camp. The Chey- 
ennes organized a war party and went to fight the 
Crows. As a result of the battle the Cheyennes 
captured five Crow women and one boy about ten 
years old. The women were made wives for their 
captors. The boy was adopted as a son of one of 
them. All of these captives stayed permanently there- 
after with our people. 

The Crow boy liked Eagle Feather on the Fore- 
head, who then was only a little older than he. He 
said, "This girl is my sister." She accepted him as 
a brother. In later years the girl was married to 
White Buffalo Shakes Off the Dust, and these became 
my parents. The Crow boy came to manhood and 
married a Cheyenne girl. Myself and my brothers 
and sisters were taught to look upon him as our uncle, 

2 



BOYHOOD WILD DAYS 

since he had been an adopted brother of my mother. 
He was an admirable man, brave and capable. All of 
the Cheyennes had a high regard for him. He knew 
he was born a Crow, but he never showed any desire 
to leave us for returning to them. He went, though, 
to the Southern Cheyennes, following the great war- 
rior Roman Nose. He died there, in Oklahoma, a 
very old man. 

This Crow-Cheyenne Indian man was a wonderful 
traveler on foot. Even as a boy he could outwalk 
and wear down most of the young men who journeyed 
with him. His capabilities in this regard were so 
noticeable that people said: "His legs must be made 
of wood, since he never becomes tired." Then they 
fixed upon him a name, Kum-mok-quiv-vi-ok-ta 
Wooden Leg. 

I also was a youthful wonder in the matter of 
walking. By the time I was fifteen years old I could 
go all day following in the footsteps of my uncle 
Wooden Leg. I was tall and gaunt, and I grew yet 
taller in young manhood. Friends began jokingly 
to apply to me the name of this enduring uncle, who 
then had become a middle-aged or elderly man. I 
liked the name, I liked the man who bore it, and I 
liked the honor of comparison with him. I told my 
father I wished to be known as Wooden JLeg. It was 
a common custom to pass down names to junior rela- 

3 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

tires. My father told me that when the right time 
came he would confer upon me the new name. The 
time came when I was about seventeen years old. 

The Cheyennes then were camped far up the 
Tongue river, on a small creek branch at its western 
side. It was in winter, there was deep snow and the 
weather was cold. One morning we discovered that 
twenty of our horses were missing. A blizzard was 
whirling, so we could only get glimpses of the trail 
of the thieves. We supposed them to be Crow In- 
dians, of course. Thirteen Cheyennes, including 
myself, mounted ponies and set off in pursuit. We 
struggled all day through the blinding snowstorm. 
We got the general direction of the trail, so we kept 
on going during all of the succeeding night. None 
of us slept. The following morning was clear, but 
a cold north breeze was sifting the snow along as if 
it were sand. We then were far up the valley of the 
Little Bighorn river. 

We saw two Indians driving a band of horses out 
of the valley and upon the benches to the westward. 
It was evident they were Crows urging our lost ani- 
mals toward their camp west of the Bighorn. We ap- 
proached them as rapidly as possible while conceal- 
ing our presence. When we arrived on the benchland 
we found the two men had stopped in a sheltered 
gulch, had dismounted and were preparing to light 

4 



BOYHOOD WILD DAYS 

their pipe for a smoke. We charged upon them. 
One of them got to his horse and dashed away, but 
Black Eagle's rifle brought him down dead. The 
other one was surrounded and cut to death with 
knives and hatchets. We got back all of our horses 
and their two horses in addition. 

My companions informed my father that I had 
shown great bravery in rushing upon and helping to 
dispatch our Crow enemy. My father gave a feast 
to honor me, and at this feast he proclaimed: "Hence- 
forth the name of this son of mine is Wooden Leg." 

As a little boy I used to ride in a travels basket 
when the tribe moved camp. Two long lodgepoles 
were crossed over the shoulders or tied to the sides 
of a horse. Thus they were dragged over the country. 
Buffalo skins were used to stretch across between the 
widely gaping poles behind the horse. Upon or into 
these bagging skins were placed all of the family 
property, in rawhide satchels or as separate loose 
articles. The smaller children also rode there. I 
have fond recollections of this kind of traveling. 
Many an hour I have slept in that kind of gentle bed. 
Roads were not needed for this kind of vehicle. A 
travois can be taken anywhere a horse will go, and 
there never is any jolting. The spring of the poles 
and the skin takes up all of the shocks. 

When I was six years old I asked my father: "Will 

5 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

you give me a horse?" "Yes, you may have any 
horse of mine that you want, but you must catch 
him," he replied. He gave me a rawhide lariat rope. 
He and my mother and some other older people 
laughed about it, but I took the matter seriously. 
With the lariat looped and coiled I went out among 
the herd to search for horses belonging to my father. 
I selected a small pony as being my choice. I maneu- 
vered a long time before I could get the loop about 
its neck. It struggled, but I hung on. When it 
quieted down I followed carefully along the line, talk- 
ing soothingly, until it allowed me to pat its neck. 
After a while I got into its mouth and around its 
lower jaw a loop of the rawhide, according to the old 
Indian way of making a bridle. When it had calmed 
after this new advance I began to make strokes upon 
its back. Then I tucked the long coil into my belt, 
the same as I had seen men do, and I climbed quickly 
upon the little animal. It shied, and I fell off. But 
I still had my rope, this uncoiling from my belt as 
the pony moved away. I seized the tether and fol- 
lowed again its guidance to the coveted mount. 
More petting and soothing talk. Another attempt at 
riding. Off again. Before making a third try I spent 
a long time at the gentle taming procedures. Never- 
theless, the pony shied and then bucked after I had 
mounted it. But I grabbed its mane and stuck to 

6 



BOYHOOD WILD DAYS 

my seat. Within a few minutes I had control. I rode 
to my father's lodge. 

"Yes, that is your pony, to keep, 5 ' he told me. 

Bands of us boys went out at times on horseback 
to hunt wolves. We had only the bows and arrows. 
We killed many wolves with the arrows. My father 
had given me a good bow and a supply of arrows when 
I was nine or ten years old. We then were in the 
Black Hills country. 

The only trading post I ever saw during those years 
was somewhere on the Geese river.* The trader 
was known to us as Big Nosed White Man. I was 
twelve years old the first time I went there, and I 
never was at any other trading place during those 
times. My father got me a rifle at this place. It 
used powder and bullets and caps, not cartridges. 
I learned how to make bullets for it. 

I recollect very clearly one certain boyhood hunt- 
ing experience. We were camped on Otter creek 
about two miles from the present white man town of 
Ashland, Montana, situated by the Tongue river. It 
was midwinter, the snow was deep, the weather was 
cold. My mother said to me: "We have no meat." 

Another boy and I set off for a hunt. We were 
about the same age, fifteen years old. We each had 
on a shirt, leggings and moccasins, all of buckskin 

North Platte river. 

7 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

or other skin. The leggings had no seat in them, as 
was the Indian way of clothing the lower limbs. We 
had no head coverings nor any mittens for our hands. 
Although we were accustomed to hardship, this was 
a cold day for us. We waded and wallowed through 
snow up to our knees and our thighs. I had my 
muzzle-loading rifle and a bow and arrows. My com- 
panion had only his bow and arrows. 

A brush rabbit sat huddled under a shelter in a 
brier patch. I fumbled out an arrow and placed it 
upon the bow. My numb fingers scarcely could hold 
the arrow alone, surely could not draw the bow to 
a tensity enough for accurate shooting. The arrow 
missed. I rubbed and slapped together my hands to 
make them warm and mobile. Then I strung another 
pointed missile and took a careful aim. This time 
the rabbit's body was perforated. We laid it beside 
our trail and went on in pursuit of more game. 

We saw four buffaloes on the land where now 
stand the Mennonite missionary houses. They also 
saw us, and they ran away. They crossed Tongue 
river on the ice, and soon afterward we got a view of 
them clambering up the hillside beyond the river and 
going on to the timbered benchland out of our sight. 
No chance to shoot at them. We trudged on, though, 
rubbing and pounding our hands and our bodies in 
order to keep from freezing. We crossed the river 

8 



BOYHOOD WILD DAYS 

on the ice and came out from the bordering timber 
near the present-day home of my friend Joe Crow. 

A deer jumped out and stood looking at us. The 
first shot from my rifle brought it down. We rushed 
to it and cut its throat. We hurriedly cut open the 
body and jammed our hands inside, to get them warm. 
Many a time I have done that same thing in other in- 
stances. After this limbering of the fingers we 
skinned the animal and cut off all of the meat from 
the bones. The meat was wrapped into the skin, then 
we set off on the back trail for the home camp. We 
took turns at carrying the burden. As we plodded 
along we paused to pick up the dead rabbit. About 
cfark we arrived at our lodges, very tired but con- 
tented. 

On another winter hunt I went alone. My mother 
said, "We have no meat." So I took a packhorse 
and started out. The snow was deep. I led the 
horse* as I walked, to keep warm. It was a long and 
tiresome day. I was becoming discouraged when I 
found the tracks of a buffalo. I followed them, and 
finally I got into the right position and killed the ani- 
mal with a rifle. It was hard work, me alone skin- 
ning off the hide, cutting off the meat, rolling the 
bundle and packing my horse. I got through with it, 
though, and set out for the home lodge. My legs 
carried me there, but it was after dark when I gave 

9 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

the horse's leading rope to my mother. All of our 
family laughed in joy, for we had plenty of meat. 

But I was in great bodily distress. I was snow- 
blind and the soles of my feet were frozen. The fire- 
light dazzled my eyes to the utmost painf ulness. My 
feet tortured me as they began to get warm in the 
comfortable lodge. My mother sent for the doctor, 
a medicine man named Red Bear. He got snow and 
rubbed the soles of my feet. He took snowflakes be- 
tween his lips, puffed flicks of them into my eyes, 
and also he flipped snowflakes from his fingertips 
into my eyes. Pretty soon I felt much better. Be- 
fore he went away that night I was entirely cured. He 
was a wise medicine man for sick people. Many of 
our doctors in the old times made wonderful cures. 

One time when I was on a hunting trip with others 
in the Bighorn mountains I saw an eagle capture and 
carry away a buffalo calf. The big bird took the 
little animal far up to the top of a cliff, where there 
was an eagle nest. We sat on our horses and 
watched, to see what would happen. Ordinarily a 
capturing eagle would drop its prey from high in the 
air, so it would be killed by the fall to the ground. 
But this did not happen in this case. As long as 
we stayed there watching, we still could see the 
buffalo calf standing up there on the cliff and wig- 
gling its tail. 

10 



BOYHOOD WILD DAYS 

A band of soldiers fought our Cheyennes back and 
forth across a river one time when I was seven or 
eight years old. It was the Lodgepole river, near 
where it flows into Geese river. Members of our 
Crazy Dog warrior society did all of our fighting that 
day. The Elk warriors and the Fox warriors stayed 
back with the body of our people who were looking 
on. My father belonged to the Elk warriors, so he 
was an onlooker. Roman Nose and High-Backed 
Wolf were the specially brave Crazy Dogs on that 
day. 

The Shoshones, the Crows and the Pawnees were 
the tribes we fought most during my time of grow- 
ing up to manhood. The Pawnees, though, were too 
far away from the regions where I spent a large part 
of my early life the Black Hills, the Powder, 
Tongue and Bighorn countries. So my own youthful 
warrior experiences were mostly in combat against 
the Crows and the Shoshones. One incident out of 
many in this kind of warfare will show how it was 
carried on. 

A band of Shoshones came at night and stole some 
of our horses. We were camped on a divide between 
the upper part of Tongue river and the Little Big- 
horn. Deep snow and winter weather. I then was 
sixteen years old. I went with the party of Chey- 
ennes who took the trail of the thieves. After travel* 

11 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

ing all day and into the night we found a small camp 
of Shoshones. Most of them, alarmed by their dogs, 
had fled when we made our attack upon them. But 
repeated shots kept coming from one certain lodge. 
We concentrated our assault upon this lodge. Two 
Cheyennes were killed and another one mortally 
wounded before we could suppress this destructive 
defense. White Wolf, eleven years older than I was 
and yet living as my neighbor on Tongue river, was 
the brave warrior who dealt the fatal blow to that 
Shoshone. White Wolf crept along the ground and 
into the lodge. He had in his right hand a six- 
shooter. It was totally dark in there, and he 
fumbled about the interior, seeking whomsoever he 
might find. His gun bumped into somebody, and he 
pulled the trigger. Later developments revealed 
this was the only occupant of the lodge. The victim 
was an old man. He was the only Shoshone we killed 
in that fight, so far as we could learn. But we won 
the battle and got back our horses. 

We cut up the body of the old Shoshone man. We 
cut off his hands, his feet, his head. We ripped open 
his breast and his belly. I stood there and looked at 
his heart and his liver. We tore down the lodge, built 
a bonfire of it and its contents and piled the remnants 
of the dead body upon this bonfire. We stayed there 
until nothing was left but ashes and coals. 

12 



BOYHOOD WILD DATS 

The Cheyennes during my youth associated much 
with the Ogallala Sioux, the Arapahoes and the 
Minneconjoux Sioux. Many Cheyennes learned the 
speech of these other tribes, and in turn they had 
many members who used ours. Most of my outside 
mingling was with the Ogallalas. By the time I was 
grown to full stature I could talk Sioux about as well 
as I could talk Cheyenne. I still can use either lan- 
iguage. 

Forty army mules were brought into our camp on 
Rosebud creek when I was about nine years old. 
Three Cheyennes got them. These three were 
Wrapped Braids, Old Bear and Pipe, a half-man-and- 
ihalf -woman Cheyenne. They had chased away a lone 
soldier herding the mules near a soldier fort on the 
Bighorn river.* There were many attacks on this 
and other forts by the Cheyennes and the Sioux, but 
I was too young to take part in them. 

Some Crow chiefs visited our camp on Rosebud 
creek. The Crows were our enemies, but our people 
treated these visitors well, as was the Indian custom 
when enemies came peaceably. After a feast and a 
smoke had been given them they told our chiefs that 
the big chief of the soldiers at the Bighorn fort had 
sent them to make peace with us and invite us to join 
the Crows and the soldiers in warring against the 

*Fort C. F. Smith. 

13 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

Sioux. They said the soldiers would give us lots of 
presents if we would be friendly with them. All of 
our camp moved over there. We were given some 
blarikets, many boxes of crackers, and our women 
received beads and other gifts. We then went back 
to the Rosebud valley. I do not know what was done 
about making peace, but I know that our young men 
warriors kept on doing as they had been doing. 

Another soldier fort that was being fought by the 
Ogallala Sioux and some of the Cheyennes was on 
what we called Buffalo creek.* Little Wolf was 
then our most important old man chief. Crazy Head 
was next in importance among us. Red Cloud was 
the leading old man chief of the Ogallalas, with Crazy 
Horse as their principal warrior chief. At a time 
when our whole tribe were in camp on Rosebud creek, 
just below the mouth of Lame Deer creek, and when 
the Ogallalas were on Tongue river, just below where 
Birney, Montana, is now situated, some of their 
people came over the divide to us and asked the 
Cheyennes to join them in a great attack on the Buf- 
falo creek fort. Our chiefs considered the matter. 
It was decided that whatever young men of us might 
wish to go would be allowed to do so. Our camp 
then was moved up Lame Deer creek to the base 
of the divide, a short day's ride from the Ogallalas 

* Fort Phil Kearny, on Little Piney creek. 

14 



BOYHOOD WELD DAYS 

on Tongue river. Our great medicine man, Crazy 
Mule, showed that he could cause bullets shot at him 
to fall harmless at his feet. A hundred or more of 
our young men said they could go to fight the soldiers' 
if Crazy Mule would go with them. He agreed to 
go. Our second chief, Crazy Head, led the band of 
warriors. Little Wolf stayed in our camp. 

My oldest brother, named Strong Wind Blowing, 
was killed in that midwinter battle with the soldiers.* 
He was about sixteen years old. Chief Little Wolf's 
younger brother also was killed. These two were the 
only Cheyennes who fell that day. I do not know 
how many Sioux may have been cut down by the 
soldier bullets, but I believe there were not many. 
Our returning warriors said that more than a hun- 
dred white men lost their lives, that Crazy Mule's 
medicine caused them to fall down dead without need 
for the Indians to kill them.** There was rejoicing 
in our camp on account of the victory. But our 
family and all relatives of the two dead Cheyennes 
were in mourning. We wept and prayed for the 
spirits of our lost ones. 

Some time after that battle a half-breed Indian 
came as a messenger from the soldier fort chief to 
the Cheyennes. He said, "Come, friends, and let us 

*Fort Phil Kearny fight, December, 1866. 
** Suicidal acts, to avoid capture alive? T. B. M. 

15 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

have peace." Little Wolf told us we ought to go, so 
the whole tribe moved near to them. Little Wolf 
and others of our chiefs had a council with the soldier 
chiefs. The big chief of the soldiers said to Little 
Wolf: "We are going away from this country. I 
give to you all of these soldier houses. Your people 
may live in them and learn how to cultivate the 
land." A separate council of our chiefs was held. 
They replied, "Yes, we will take the houses." 

The Cheyennes were pleased. "That one will be 
my house," some one of them would say, pointing 
out a certain building. "I want that one," another 
would claim, indicating some other structure. But 
Little Wolf was not satisfied. He meditated and ex- 
pressed his disapproval. "We can not live here," 
he urged. "It is impossible for Indians to live in the 
same houses all the time and get enough buffalo and 
other meat to sustain them." The women especially 
implored him to change his mind. The question was 
settled fully one morning when Little Wolf set fire 
to the fort. He went from building to building, 
carrying his firebrands. He did not cease his efforts 
until the entire evidence of white man occupation was 
in ashes.* 

Little Wolf had been a big tribal chief, the most 
influential one, for about two years before that time. 

* Autumn, 1868. 

16 



BOYHOOD WILD DAYS 

In his earlier manhood years he was for a long time 
chosen over and over again as the leading chief of 
the Elk warrior society. If during his time any 
Cheyenne was looked upon as the bravest man of all, 
he was the man. He never was afraid to speak the 
truth. The people all believed him. He was a gentle 
and charitable man, but if insulted to anger he was 
likely to hurt somebody. In either disturbed or un- 
disturbed mood everybody knew he meant just what 
he said. He was my uncle by marriage, one of his 
two wives being a sister of my father. He used to 
tell me many thrilling stories, both at his lodge and 
at my father's lodge. I recall one in particular, 
when he had a hand-to-hand combat with a Shoshone. 
Each had a sheathknife. They grappled and 
wrestled and slashed one another. Finally Little 
Wolf pinioned the arms of the Shoshone, threw him 
to the ground, plunged upon him and stabbed him to 
death. He gave me a great deal of good advice, both 
as to warfare and as to how to carry myself uprightly 
as a man among my own people. My conduct all 
throughout my life has been influenced by his teach- 
ings, more than by those of any other preceptor ex- 
cept my own father. 

I think my body grew more rapidly than did my 
mind. By the time I was eighteen years old I was 
among the tallest men of the tribe. I believe there 

17 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

were but two who stood a little above me. Both of 
these two were killed in the great battle against the 
soldiers of Custer. Then remained myself and Tall 
Bull as the two topmost in stature. We were the same 
in height, were about the same age, but he was dis- 
tinctly the heavier. We were close associates during 
youth and manhood. He died at Lame Deer eight or 
ten years ago. I do not know by any measurement 
just what was my height when I was a young man. 
I think I have grown shorter as old age has crept 
upon me. My friend the white man doctor measures 
me now at six feet two inches and weighs me at 235 
pounds. 

Our tribe during my growing years moved here 
and there throughout the region between the Black 
Hills and the Bighorn mountains and Bighorn river. 
We never went north of the Elk river (the Yellow- 
stone) except on two occasions when some of the 
tribe went across for only a few days each time. The 
places of crossing were just above and just below 
the mouth of the Bighorn. Only one time was the 
tribal camp circle made west of the Bighorn river. 
We considered that country as belonging to the 
Crows. Our war parties went there, but our camp- 
ings were eastward from this stream. I do not know 
why we crossed to that side on this occasion. We 
had been having a series of ceremonial dances at 

18 



BOYHOOD WILD DAYS 

successive camping places, and it may be that this 
invasion of Crow land was intended as a challenge. 
I was about fourteen years old, I believe. The 
season was what in later life I have come to know 
as June. It was the time for our usual early-summer 
religious devotions. A medicine dance had been led 
by White Horse, an old man, when we were just be- 
low where Greasy Grass creek flows into the Little 
Bighorn. We stayed there five sleeps. Then we 
moved a few miles down the Little Bighorn, where 
Crazy Mule led a buffalo dance. Camped there four 
sleeps. Moved again down the Little Bighorn, this 
time placing our camp circle on the exact spot where 
it was located four years later, at the time we killed 
all of the soldiers. Bear Sits Down gave a buffalo 
dance at this place. Four sleeps here. The move- 
ment was continued on down the Little Bighorn to 
its mouth, where we crossed the Bighorn and set up 
our camp circle on its west side. Here Brave Wolf 
led a Great Medicine or Great Spirit dance, the cere- 
mony known to the white people as a sun dance. 
Four sleeps we stayed here, then we crossed back to 
the east side of the Bighorn. That was the only 
time our people as a tribe ever crossed that river. 



19 



II 

Roomers in the Game Lands. 

The first agency for our Northern Cheyennes that 
I heard anything about was said to have been at 
the mouth of the Cheyenne river, east of the Black 
Hills. But I never was there. Afterward it was 
located south of the Black Hills, near the present 
Pine Ridge agency for the Ogallala Sioux. I have 
been told the white people called this the Red Cloud 
agency, but the Cheyennes knew it as the White 
River agency. I was at this place two times, but 
only for a few days in each instance. My father's 
family was almost all of the time with other Chey- 
ennes moving about over the country between the 
Black Hills and the Bighorn river. Here we hunted 
the game and the enemy Crows and Shoshones, and 
here we lived in every way the life of the plains In- 
dians of those times. It was not an idle existence. 
We were busy much of the time, fighting our ene- 
mies or gathering food and clothing and sheltering 
skins. 

As we were camped on lower Tongue river, when 
I was about nine years old, one morning a herald 
startled the people by his cry: 

20 



ROAMERS IN THE GAME LANDS 

"Our horses all are gone!" 

There followed a lively stir among the young men. 
A party of them, mounted on a few horses that had 
been overlooked by the raiders, hurried away on the 
trail. A thin snow helped them. In the late after- 
noon they caught up with the lost herd, apparently 
abandoned. But after a search of the vicinity they 
discovered that somebody was in a canyon cave there. 
One of the Cheyennes crawled into the cave, in an 
endeavor to verify the supposition. The verification 
came in the form of an arrow that hit him in the 
right eye. He quickly backed out. "Everybody 
bring wood," the Cheyenne leader ordered. They 
built a fire at the cave's opening. With blankets 
they fanned the flames and the smoke into the hole. 
The prisoners fanned outward and thrust sticks at 
the fire heap to push it away. "Bring more wood," 
the leader called. The one-sided contest went on 
until two Crow Indian men burst out from the cave 
. almost suffocated and in desperation. The first one 
out was beaten and stabbed to death by the sur- 
rounding Cheyennes. The second one got past 
them, sprang upon one of their horses and dashed 
away. The Cheyennes pursued him. He happened 
to mount a slow animal, so it was not long before 
the chase developed into a beating by pony whip 
handles. The Crow suddenly jerked his mount to a 

21 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

standstill. At the same moment he flashed out his 
sheathknife and made a vicious sidewise stab. The 
blade buried itself in the breast of a Cheyenne, who 
fell dead. The other Cheyennes rushed upon the 
Crow. In a twinkling he had received many death 
blows from various weapons. Somebody scalped 
him, and then they cut off his feet, hands and head. 
I was not with this party, but I was in the camp. 
I heard all about it when they returned. 

I saw the killing of another Crow, though, when 
we were at this same camp on Tongue river. One 
morning a Cheyenne horse was discovered dragging 
a rawhide lariat looped about its lower jaw. This 
was peculiarly the Crow way of bridling a horse, the 
Sioux and Cheyennes ordinarily making a headstall 
and mouth bit with the rope. Evidently some Crow 
had captured our horse and it had escaped from 
him during the night. There was a scurrying out to 
inspect and count our herd. Apparently no others 
were missing. The inquiry was directed then to- 
ward an examination of the ground on the outskirts 
of the area where the ponies were grazing. Three 
strange horses had come from the hills to the west- 
ward and gone away in a gallop. Another trail was 
of human footprints, these imprinted as if the maker 
of them had been lame and had been using a stick 
for support. This trail led to a hillside cliff. There 

22 



ROAMERS IN THE GAME LANDS 

under the shelter of an overhanging stone roof lay 
a Crow Indian man apparently dead or sound asleep. 
A Cheyenne leveled his rifle at close range and fired. 
The Crow partly jumped up to a sitting attitude and 
then fell back dead. Investigation showed him to 
have a broken leg and a broken arm. The horse 
he had captured was not well tamed, and it had 
bucked him off. Perhaps it first had carried him 
away from his companions, and perhaps either he 
or the horse had made a noise that might have 
alarmed the camp, whereupon the two other ma- 
rauders had abandoned him and fled. As I now re- 
flect back sixty years, I pity that unfortunate Crow 
Indian. But at that time I felt no pity. 

Nine Crows came and stole a band of our horses 
at a time when we were camped far up the Tongue 
river. I then was about sixteen years .old. I joined 
the pursuing party of Cheyennes. We rode fast and 
far, following the trail over hills and valleys toward 
the Bighorn river. Some of our horses, including 
mine, played out. Four of us turned to go back 
while the others went on after the Crows. Porcupine 
was the oldest of my returning group of four. Night 
was coming upon us, so we stopped to sleep and to 
rest our horses. During the night a sound of mov- 
ing horses awakened us. We kept quiet, listening 
and looking. Porcupine saw someone on horseback 

23 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

about a hundred yards distant from us. He called 
out a challenge: "Cheyenne? Crow?" The rider 
lashed his mount to dash away. Porcupine firtd his 
rifle in the direction of the fleeing prowler; We 
learned nothing then of the outcome of this incident. 
But several months later an Arapaho friend told us 
of the ending. He had been hunting in this region, 
and right where we had slept that night he found 
the dead body of a Crow shot through from back 
to front. 

The others who had gone on after the Crows driv- 
ing our herd caught up with them just below the old 
soldier fort on the Bighorn river. My older brother 
was with them, and he told me what happened there. 
The horse band was across on the west side, and four 
Crows were having a playful time at bathing in the 
river. They were swimming* splashing, joking, 
laughing. The dozen or more Gheyennes kept them- 
selves hidden and hurriedly dressed themselves for 
a fight while their horses rested a few minutes. Then 
they burst into their war-songs and charged into the 
water upon the surprised and defenseless bathers. 
Three Crows were killed, one escaped. All of our 
horses were recovered and three of theirs were added 
to the band. The third Crow killed was an old man, 
but he was very active. He dodged, jumped, dived. 
But the Cheyennes had too many spears jabbing at 

24 



ROAMERS IN THE GAME LANDS 

him and too many bullets flying toward him. My 
brother's six-shooter put the fatal blow upon him. 

The following year, when our tepees were assem- 
bled on the west side of Tongue river just across 
from the mouth of Hanging Woman creek, my father 
and I went out one day to get an antelope. He was 
about to shoot at one when the animal and some 
others with it suddenly ran away. We were hidden, 
so it seemed certain their fright came from someone 
else. We crept and peeped. Pretty soon we saw a 
group of Indian hunters on horseback. 

"They are Crows," my father excitedly whispered. 

Oh, what clever dodging we did! We got to our 
horses, mounted them, kept them moving through 
gullies and brushy spots until we reached the home 
camp. A band of Cheyennes joined us to attack the 
Crows. At a long distance off we followed them 
until our horses tired out. By this time we were 
at the upper branches of the Rosebud. We gave up 
the chase. Nobody hurt. 

Great herds of buffalo west of the Bighorn used 
to draw the Cheyennes over into that Crow country 
for the hunt. We camped on the eastern side, but 
our hunting parties crossed the river and went as 
far as Shooting at the Bank creek.* Each hunter led 
one or more pack horses to carry the meat and skins 

* Fryer creek. 

25 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

taken. Many times I have swam the Bighorn or 
some other river while holding in my teeth the lead- 
ing rope of my riding pony. The pack horse rope 
would be held in the same way or might be tied to 
the tail of this leader. My clothing would be com- 
pressed into a bundle and strapped to the back of 
my head. 

As we were camped on the east side of the Bighorn, 
about two years before the great Custer battle, three 
Crows were seen one day chasing antelope on our 
side of the river. Report of their presence there was 
brought to our camp. An old man herald mounted 
his pony and went about the camp circle calling out: 

"Crows are after our antelope herds. They may 
steal our horses." 

Six Cheyenne young men got their war clothing 
packs, mounted their war ponies and set out to find 
the bold Crows. I was not with them, but a special 
friend of mine was one of the pursuing party and 
he told me of their experience. They crossed the 
Bighorn river just below where had been the soldier 
fort. During the course of the pursuit they killed 
two Crows. The third one was followed on to the 
main Crow camp beside Shooting at the Bank creek. 
The six Cheyennes lingered there to spy upon the 
camp. The lingering was a little too extended, for 
soon they found themselves engaged in a fight with 

26 



ROAMERS IN THE GAME LANDS 

a much larger band of Crows. A Cheyenne wearing 
a double tailed warbonnet had his horse shot down, 
then the man himself was shot through the thigh, 
this disability rendering him an easy mark for fatal 
blows that soon fell upon him. A second Cheyenne 
was killed by arrows or bullets. A third one met 
death by the same means. The other three escaped 
and made their way back to our side of the river and 
to the home camp circle. 

During this same summer the Crows made a raid 
one night on our horse herd. Of course, when day- 
light revealed the situation a war party of Cheyennes 
went out for revengeful retaliation. I was not in 
camp at this time, being on a hunting trip toward 
the mountains, but Braid told me of what happened. 
He was one of the band of avenging Cheyennes. The 
Crows drove all of the horses to their camp on Shoot- 
ing at the Bank creek. The Cheyennes hid them- 
selves to watch for some opportunity for reprisal. 
But the crafty Crows evidently discovered them or 
had planned thus to entrap them. Notice came only 
when a horde of them charged out for a fight. Two 
of the Crows were killed and two Cheyennes also met 
death. Braid's horse was shot down and he himself 
was hit by a bullet that broke the bones in the lower 
part of one of his legs. A companion on horseback 
took 'Braid up behind him and the two got away into 

27 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

safety. All of the Cheyennes then fled from the field. 
Braid is yet alive, at the age of eighty-nine years, his 
home being on the Rosebud side of this Tongue River 
reservation. The white people call him Arthur 
Brady. 

About a year before these events just related a 
big camp of Cheyennes was located on the Little Big- 
horn a short distance below where Greasy Grass creek 
empties into it. Fresh footprints of unknown horses 
near the camp site aroused suspicion. Crows? Sho- 
shones? People conjectured. An old man herald 
rode about and notified everybody. That night all 
of the horses were brought into the camp circle and 
picketed among the lodges. Many watchful people 
slept lightly or awakened from time to time and 
peered out from the tepee flaps. Last Bull, asleep 
in a small tepee with his wife, was startled by the 
snorting of a mule he had picketed near by. The 
mule snorted again, then a third time. Last Bull 
saw a human form crawling along toward his mule. 
The aroused man had no gun, so he crept under his 
tepee wall and into the next one, there to borrow a 
six-shooter from an old woman. 

Fire Wolf saw the wriggling form cut the rope and 
move off leading the mule. He bravely jumped out, 
without any weapon, and seized the intruder. They 
grappled and struggled. The stranger had a rifle. 

28 




STONE PEN (IN FOREGROUND) USED BY OLD-TIME INDIANS 

AS LOOKOUT SHELTER FOR SENTINEL. THIS ONE IS ON A HILL 

OVERLOOKING TONGUE RIVER, NEAR ASHLAND, MONTANA 



ROAMERS IN THE GAME LANDS 

During the scuffle it was discharged. The noise 
aroused the camp. Cheyennes came running. Cries 
rang out: 

"Kill the Crow! Kill the Crow!" 

The thief jerked out a sheathknife and stabbed 
Fire Wolf again and again until the Cheyenne had 
to let loose his hold. The freed man sprang to 
his feet and ran, leaving the mule. A shot from Last 
Bull's borrowed six-shooter brought him down. A 
dozen Cheyennes closed in upon him and beat him 
to death. Fire Wolf had some bad knife wounds, 
but he recovered. The clothing, the bodily decora- 
tions in general and the mode of hair dressing re- 
vealed the dead Indian as being not a Crow. He 
was a Flathead, perhaps a visitor among the Crows 
or a member of a band visiting and hunting with 
them. 

A battle with the Shoshones was fought near the 
headwaters of Powder river when I was about fifteen 
years old (1873). A small band of Cheyennes had 
their lodges a day's journey farther up the river from 
the main body of die tribe. I was with the small 
band. Four or five Shoshones came at night to our 
little camp and stole our horses. We walked to the 
main camp and told of the raid. All were for im- 
mediate war against the whole Shoshone tribe. "Kill 
all of the Shoshortes," was the common cry. The 

29 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

main camp moved on up the river to our small en- 
campment. There preparations were made for the 
warfare. That very night thirty-two Shoshone war- 
riors came into the view of our night sentinels. Evi- 
dently the enemies had planned to wipe out our little 
band, not knowing of the presence now of the whole 
tribe. 

The sentinels raised an alarm. Yet the Shoshones 
did not offer to retreat until they found themselves 
overwhelmed by a great body of our warriors. Their 
horses were tired from the journey to our camp while 
ours were just taken from their picket ropes. Per- 
haps the raiders had been saying, "We shall kill all 
of the Cheyennes here," but now they plunged their 
horses into a long and deep canyon in their effort to 
get away from us. The Cheyennes strung themselves 
all along both sides of the canyon. Shooting was 
kept up during the balance of the night and until 
an hour or more after daylight. Two of the enemy 
escaped. Thirty of them were killed in the canyon. 
Seven of our Cheyennes also lost their lives. We 
recovered the horses the four had stolen. This fight 
was on a small creek flowing into the west side of 
Powder river from the mountains near by. 

White Bull was leading a hunting party one time 
in the Elk river country. I was yet a small boy, so 
I was not with them. Their scouts observed the dis- 

30 



ROAMERS IN THE GAME LANDS 

tant herds of buffalo excited. Crows? Shoshones? 
White soldiers? The Cheyennes hid themselves for 
the night. In the early morning they found moc- 
casin tracks by a creek. The moccasin trail led to 
a Blackfeet camp. There the Cheyennes stirred up 
a fight, but I believe nobody was killed. The great 
warrior Roman Nose rode back and forth in front 
of the Blackfeet and defied them. All of them were 
said to have shot at him without a bullet or arrow 
having harmed him. He had a powerful spirit or 
medicine protection for himself. White Bull had 
taught him this medicine. 

Soldiers got after a small band of mingled Chey- 
ennes and Sioux near the Black Hills one time. We 
were running away when a Cheyenne was killed. 
Two Sioux, another Cheyenne and myself went back 
to recover his dead body. We got off our horses and 
crept over a hill. We four took our dead companion 
by his hands and feet and dragged him over the knoll. 
There we rolled him into a blanket and we took the 
four corners. Bullets were whistling all about us. 
The blanket ripped and the body fell through the 
opening. We again took hold of the hands and feet, 
and in this way we got him to our horses and de- 
livered him to his own people. 

Several months before the great battle with Long 
Hair (General Custer) and his soldiers, some Chey- 

31 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

ennes coming from the agency on White river told 
us that the white men were going to come out and 
fight us. As parties went out for hunting, a lookout 
was kept for these white enemies. My brother, my- 
self and two other Cheyenne young men went on a 
special scouting journey. We were camped then far 
up the Powder river. At night we four slept out 
in the open country. Early in the morning a fifth 
Cheyenne came to us. "Soldiers are near us," he 
said. We learned our horses were missing. The 
soldiers had taken them. We all ran away afoot. 
We scattered in different directions, except my 
brother and me, who went together into a canyon. 
Soldiers rode along on both sides of the canyon and 
shot at us. We shot back at them, first using up our 
bullets and then resorting to our arrows. We kept 
creeping along the canyon. The soldiers gradually 
dropped away. We were not harmed nor did we 
know of our having harmed any of them. When 
they left us we carefully worked our way on up the 
canyon and over a hill toward our camp. Breathing 
hard, almost exhausted, frightened to the verge of 
collapse, we stopped for a few minutes of rest. Then 
we hurried on. At the outskirts of the camp circle 
we paused to send a warning wolf howl. The people 
all gathered about us. 

32 



ROAMERS IN THE GAME LANDS 

"What has happened?" they asked. 

We told of our experience. At the same time the 
other returned young men were giving the same kind 
of information. The chiefs .ordered everybody to 
pack up, and the camp was moved far on down the 
Powder river. Some of us stayed back to watch the 
soldiers. One night I saw them in their camp. Two 
sentinels were walking back and forth near their 
horses. I or any of my companions could have killed 
either or both of them. But this would have en- 
dangered our people, so we did nothing of that kind. 
We stole back our horses, though. I got the same 
horse they had taken from me a few nights before 
this. Our camp kept on moving, and the soldiers 
never found us on this hunt. 

A great band of Southern Cheyennes came for a 
visit to us in the Black Hills about two years before 
the Custer battle on the Little Bighorn. All of us 
joined together then for a long hunting journey to the 
westward, to the Powder river, the Tongue and the 
Little Bighorn. Many thousands of buffalo, deer, 
antelope. Many skins, much meat, everybody happy 
and prosperous and in health. On the Little Big- 
horn river we had one day of Great Medicine thanks- 
giving dancing just below the mouth of Greasy Grass 
creek. Further down the valley the camp divided, 

33 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

half of the people going northwestward to trouble the 
Crows while the other half took a southwestward 
course toward the country of the Shoshones. 

I went to the Shoshone country. We did not see 
any of those Indians, but a few of us saw their agency. 
We saw also the soldier houses there. We kept clear 
of the soldiers, and I think they never knew we were 
in that region until after we had gone. We rounded 
up and drove off a herd of white man cattle and killed 
every beef. Game was scarce there, and we needed 
the food. 

We followed the mountains to upper Powder river, 
where we joined again with the Cheyennes who had 
separated from us on the Little Bighorn. After a 
few days of feasting in the great combined camp, 
there began to be departures in bands, bands, bands, 
for return to the agency south of the Black Hills. 
My small remaining group went to Otter creek, a 
tributary of the lower Tongue river. Good hunting, 
lots of game, on this creek. We followed it to its 
head and moved on eastward to Powder river. We 
went up that stream and diverted to the Little Pow- 
der river. Here other Cheyennes came to us. Then 
more arrived, and yet more. Again a great band of 
us were roaming together. 

An early autumn snowstorm in the upper Powder 
river region put a check upon our great summer 

34 



ROAMERS IN THE GAME LANDS 

movements. Separations came again. Indians went 
back again to the agency for the winter. My band 
moved over to the upper Tongue river. Here, only a 
short distance down that stream from the present 
white man town of Sheridan, Wyoming, buffalo in 
great throngs were feeding. We had but to kill and 
eat. As I now think back upon those days, it seems 
that no people in the world ever were any richer than 
we were. That is all anybody actually needs a good 
shelter, plenty of food, plenty of fuel, plenty of good 
water. We stayed all winter in this vicinity. My 
father and his family never cared to live at the agency. 

In every herd of buffaloes the adult males were 
about equal in size and of the same dark brown color. 
All buffalo cows likewise were about equal in size, 
smaller than the bulls. The sucking calves were of 
yellow color. At the age of one year they began to 
change to the darker yellow and then to brown and 
dark brown or black. 

A white buffalo was killed by the Cheyennes on a 
branch of the upper Powder river. That was when 
I was a boy, about the time the soldier fort was there. 
Many Cheyennes were after the animal, but Left 
Handed Shooter killed it. Such animal was regarded 
as a spirit being or a "medicine" animal. The as- 
sembled Cheyennes stood back from this one in re- 
spectful awe. Left Handed Shooter could not per- 

35 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

suade anyone to help him in skinning it. He alone 
took the hide from the whole body, separating off 
the head and horns. 

Four medicine women were called to Left Handed 
Shooter's lodge. They pegged down the sacred skin, 
dried it, scraped it with their elkhorn scrapers, did 
all of the work of tanning it as a robe with the hair 
left on it. An old medicine man then took it to his 
lodge. There he painted it. He put upon the smooth 
inside many black suns, many black moons, many 
stripes, all in groups of four, the Indian sacred 
number. 

The painted skin then was hung upon a tall pole. 
The horned head was put upon another pole near 
by. All of the spirit men or medicine men came, all 
of the people assembled. There were many long 
prayers, to the Great Medicine above and to the spirits 
below. Finally an old man announced: 

"We give this tanned white robe to the Great Medi- 
cine above. We give the head and horns to the spirits 
below." 

The robe was taken down from the pole and was 
carefully folded. Medicine men and women then re- 
spectfully carried it with the head and horns to the 
top of a hill. There these revered objects were left 
as gifts to the unseen rulers of the Indian world. The 
meat of the animal was not considered as sacred. It 

36 



ROAMERS IN THE GAME LANDS 

was eaten, the same as if it were any other buffalo 
flesh. 

After that time another white buffalo was seen and 
chased by Cheyennes on Tongue river below the pres- 
ent town of Sheridan, Wyoming. It was a fleet-footed 
and long-winded animal. All of the Cheyenne horses 
were exhausted in the chase. The coveted buffalo 
escaped us, and I never heard of anyone having seen 
it afterward. 

I killed a buffalo cow having white hair covering 
the upper and inner thighs, the back part of the belly, 
the udder, and having white teats. My mother took 
great care in tanning it and made of it a fine robe 
for me. It either was taken or was burned by the 
soldiers who drove us from our camp on the Powder 
river a few months before the Custer soldiers came. 

A black buffalo calf was killed by Exhausted Elk 
far up the Tongue river. It being black instead of 
the usual yellow color of the calves caused it to be 
treated as a spirit animal. Four medicine women 
tanned its skin, assembled medicine men held cere- 
monies, the congregated people looked upon it with 
veneration. The skin was painted and placed upon 
a hill as a sacrifice gift to the Great Medicine, the 
same as was done with the skin of the white buffalo. 
Also, its flesh was eaten as if it were only an ordi- 
nary buffalo calf. 

37 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

A half -bull-half-cow buffalo was killed one time 
by the Cheyennes. My father helped in the killing 
of it. This animal was of enormous size. It was big, 
fat, had a tall back, long horns, and its hump was 
almost double the size of the average buffalo bull. 
My father called friends to his lodge for a feast upon 
this meat. It was not regarded as a medicine animal. 
The heart and the liver were cut into big slices to be 
eaten raw, as Indians usually ate these parts. Only 
the old medicine men ate of these slices at my father's 
feast. 

There always was some danger mixed with the 
pleasures of wild game hunting. I remember a Chey- 
enne who was gored terribly by a buffalo bull. He 
recovered, though. After that he became known as 
Buffalo Not Kill Him. Walking Whirlwind, a young 
man about my age, had his shoulder torn by a bear. 
He also recovered. 

A bear attacked three old Cheyenne women as they 
were picking berries* on Tongue river. One of the 
women was badly clawed. The two companions put 
her upon a horse and took her to camp. She died just 
after her arrival there. At that same time one of 
our men was out hunting. He saw a bear, shot it 
and killed it. As he approached the dead animal he 
observed dried blood all about its nose and its cheeks. 
This strange condition puzzled him. In skinning the 

38 



ROAMERS IN THE GAME LANDS 

bear he carefully preserved the bloody muzzle. When 
he arrived in camp with his meat packed in the skin 
he learned of the killing of the old woman. Every- 
body agreed this must have been the bear that killed 
her. 

Two Cheyenne men, Bear Dung and Sun Road, 
went buffalo hunting from a camp of ours on the 
lower Rosebud. As they were circling about a mill- 
ing herd a bull sunk its horns into the belly of Bear 
Dung's horse, ripped it open, lifted and tossed aside 
the animal. Bear Dung went sprawling to the ground. 
The bull immediately plunged at the man and gored 
him to death. Sun Road hurried into camp and told 
of the sad occurrence. The dead man's women rela- 
tives took out a travois and brought him to camp. 
He was a brother of Buffalo Hump, an old Cheyenne 
now living on the Rosebud. Sun Road also is still 
alive, his home being on the Rosebud side of our 
reservation. 

Competitive sports used to interest us. Horse 
races, foot races, wrestling matches, target shooting 
with guns or with arrows, tossing the arrows by hand, 
swimming, jumping and other like contests were en- 
tered upon. In the tribe such competition usually 
was between men representing the three warrior 
societies. These were the Elk warriors, the Crazy 
Dog warriors and the Fox warriors. If any Sioux 

39 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

tribe or big band camped jointly with us the matches 
were between representative members of the two 
tribes. Bets were made on every kind of contest. 
The stakes were of guns, ammunition, bows and ar- 
rows, blankets, horses, robes, jewelry, shirts, leggings, 
moccasins, everything in the line of personal prop- 
erty. The betting always was on even terms. Ar- 
ticles were piled upon a blanket, matched articles in 
apposition to each other. The winners took all and 
shouted over the victory. 

The Elk warriors, the society to which I belonged, 
had the best runners. Our speediest man on foot 
was named Apache. He was almost as tall as I was 
and he was much heavier. He had remarkably big 
thighs. One time at a double camping with the Ogal- 
lalas on upper Powder river a foot race was arranged 
between the two tribal champions. The Ogallala fast 
man was tall and slender. His name was Black Legs. 
The distance they were to run was about a mile, I 
believe, although at that time we had no measure- 
ments for distance. Four friends of each man ac- 
companied the two racers to the starting point. A 
revolver shot told them when to go. Near the finish 
the Sioux fell exhausted. Our man Apache was very 
tired, but he ran on to the end of the route. Of 
course, the Cheyennes took all of the stakes, let out 
a chorus of cheers and fired their guns into the air. 

40 



ROAMERS IN THE GAME LANDS 

"The Cheyenne medicine broke his legs," the Sioux 
said when their man collapsed. 

The old Chief Little Wolf had been a great runner 
when he was a young man. The longer the distance 
the better it suited him. As the Cheyennes and the 
Ogallalas were traveling together in moving camp 
there was much bantering such as, "I think the Sioux 
can travel faster than the Cheyennes can," or, "It 
appears the Cheyennes must go a little more slowly 
in order not to run away from their friends the 
Sioux." Finally a young Sioux jokingly challenged 
Little Wolf to a foot race. 

"How," assented Little Wolf, "I'll run with you." 
The caravan was stopped and arrangements were 
made for the race. Little Wolf then was past fifty 
years of age, while his Sioux challenger was just en- 
tering young manhood. Nevertheless, the Cheyennes 
backed their chief heavily. A great pile of bets were 
placed upon the containing blankets. Four Chey- 
ennes and four Sioux went with the two men to the 
agreed starting point, which must have been three 
or four miles away. At the crack of a revolver shot 
the race began. Up to the last mile the young Sioux 
kept well in the lead. Then he began to move more 
slowly. It appeared Little Wolf never changed his 
pace. So he closed up toward the leader. In the 
last part of the kst mile he went ahead, still running 

41 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

at what appeared to be his same rate while the other 
man's speed continued to lessen. By a broad hundred 
yards Little Wolf won the contest. Many of the 
Sieux, even some who had lost bets, joined the Chey- 
ennes in cheering for the old man. 

A good wrestler and general strong man was Little 
Hawk. He and Buffalo Hump and Brave Wolf made 
up a playful raiding group in the camp one time 
after a great hunting party had brought in lots of 
buffalo beef. All about the camp circle there were 
drying poles loaded with meat. The three young 
men had not been fortunate in the chase, so they de- 
cided to borrow from their friends. They went to 
a certain tepee. 

"We need meat," they announced. "Your drying 
poles are too full, and we think our wants can be 
supplied there. But Little Hawk wants to wrestle 
for it. If anybody here can throw him we shall not 
take any food from this lodge. 95 

Nobody there wanted to accept this challenge. 
The young men took some meat and went on to an- 
other tepee. There they made the same kind of 
announcement and proposition. There likewise all 
of the men present feared to grapple with Little 
Hawk, and there also the three joking robbers helped 
themselves from the bountiful store. At the next 

42 



ROAMERS IN THE GAME LANDS 

tepee the transaction was more complex. After some 
exchange of talk the spokesman of the lodge said: 
"Big Thigh is here. He says he will wrestle you." 
The conditions of the match were agreed upon. 
The two men stripped to their breechcloths. A group 
of onlookers assembled. The group soon became a 
great crowd. Big Thigh and Little Hawk appeared 
equally confident. Both of them rushed into the 
grapple. They tugged and shoved and tripped. The 
advantage seemed to shift back and forth. The 
throng of spectators whooped and danced. There 
was some partisan cheering, but most of it was merely 
the expression of delight at witnessing this tribal 
championship battle. After several minutes of fierce 
and continuous struggling Little Hawk began to 
weaken and wilt. Big Thigh pinioned the arms of 
his antagonist and bore him face downward to the 
ground. The victor sat astride the back of the van- 
quished and sprinkled handfuls of dirt upon him. 
He also picked up a folded blanket lying near by and 
used this as a soft club in pretense at beating into 
complete submission the defeated Little Hawk. 
Shouts of congratulation greeted the conqueror while 
jeers were heaped upon the under dog and his two 
confederates. Brave Wolf and Buffalo Hump, ridi- 
culed to complete embarrassment and compelled to 

43 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT COSTER 

replace their looted buffalo meat, quickly took them- 
selves into hiding* 

Our target shooting was with rifles, revolvers and 
arrows. For the arrow contests an erect wooden 
figure of a man was the customary mark. Sometimes 
the arrows were shot from the bow, sometimes they 
were tossed by hand. Both accuracy and extent of 
penetration counted in either form of this archery. 
Shooting arrows for long distance was another test 
of capability. Here a strong bow and a powerful 
arm and hand were important elements for success. 
In all of these games the regular rule allowed four 
successive shots for each contestant. Fine points in 
the manipulation of arrows were brought out in the 
sidewise tossing of them at short distances, each toss 
being made in attempt at the exact crossing of an- 
other arrow thrown out by an opponent. 

Most of our few rifles were muzzle loaders and our 
revolvers usually were of the kind using caps and 
moulded bullets. The target for practice with them 
ordinarily was a black ring as broad as a large hand 
marked upon an animal's dried shoulderblade or 
upon a barked tree. Teams of three or more men 
on each side often were arrayed against each other 
for either the arrow or gun contests. Usually the 
teams represented their respective warrior societies. 
On many occasions, though, there were personal en- 

44 



ROAMERS IN THE GAME LANDS 

gagements. In these there might be sought only 
an honorable distinction or there might be betting 
added as an incentive to achievement. An incident 
of this character that was much talked about among 
the Cheyennes came up at a time when we were 
camped on the Powder river. 

Jules Seminole brought a keg of whisky to the 
camp. He got it at some white man trading post. 
He was a southern half-breed married to one of our 
Northern Cheyenne women and accounted as be- 
longing to our tribe. One of our young men so- 
licited him: 

"Give me a drink of your whisky." 

"No, but I'll bet a drink that I can beat you at 
shooting," Seminole proposed. "What have you 
to bet?" 

The young man feared defeat. But he went can- 
vassing here and there in an effort to find someone 
who would take up Seminole's challenge. One after 
another declined to contest. Finally, in jest rather 
than in earnest, he put the case before an old medi- 
cine man who was totally blind in one eye and partly 
blind in the other. 

'Til bet a good buffalo robe against the whole keg 
of whisky that I can beat you at shooting," the old 
man declared to Seminole. 

Seminole evidently suspected some kind of trick. 

45 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

He hesitated, but the urgings of the gathered crowd 
carried him into acceptance of this counter propo- 
sition. 

A tree was barked and a black circle target drawn 
upon this clean surface. Seminole shot first. He 
had a cartridge rifle. The bullet imbedded itself 
an inch or so below the black circle. 

"Get me a pin," the old medicine man requested 
of his young helper. 

The pin was brought. The aged Cheyenne placed 
it point forward upon his right palm. He held this 
palm upward in front of his eyes. His squint wrinkles 
deepened and his lips formed themselves into a 
pucker. A sudden puff of his breath caused the pin 
to vanish. Nobody knew what had become of it. 

"Examine the target," the performer told them. 

There it was, buried to its head just inside the cir- 
cle. The people all wondered. The keg of whisky 
was conceded to its new owner. 

"I'll bet a horse against the whisky that you can't 
do anything like that again," Seminole dared him. 

"How," came instantly a responsive agreement. 

The target was placed more distant, this at the 
request of Seminole and by assent of his competitor. 
Onlookers became involved in the betting. The 
medicine man found many backers of his mysterious 
powers. The half-breed adjusted his sights. He 

46 



ROAMERS IN THE GAME LANDS 

took an unusually long and careful and steady aim. 
"Bang!" His bullet struck within an inch of the 
circle's center. His betting supporters were gleeful, 
the opposition were in doubt. They awaited anx- 
iously the next move of their champion. 

"Bring me a claw of a redbird," he calmly ordered. 

A dozen young men put themselves into his serv- 
ice. They wanted to help him in drinking the 
whisky. Within a minute he had the required object. 

The redbird claw was placed upon the same up- 
turned palm where had been the pin. "The target 
is too far," came a complaint. Then: "Yes, I can 
see it now." Puff! The claw was gone. Where? 
Right into the central black spot of the black circle 
target! 

All comers had a drink of the whisky. A tin cup 
was brought and the old medicine man dipped in 
and passed out hot liquid mouthfuls to hundreds of 
Cheyennes. Nobody got enough to make him drunk. 
I spat out my mouthful. It did not taste good. 

Red Haired Bear and his wife were traveling with 
their lone lodge one time in the Black Hills. At their 
noon camp he saw deer tracks and set off to follow 
them. They led him up a dry coulee and into the 
timber. There a strong and disagreeable odor was 
wafted to him. He grasped his gun more firmly and 
went on. Just then a big snake stood up and flashed 

47 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT OJSTER 

its tongue at him. Its head was above his head and 
its body resembled a tree. It struck him one, two, 
three, four times. It backed off and poised as if to 
strike again. He was sickened, but he aimed his gun. 

"Great Medicine, help me," he prayed. 

"Yes, be brave and I will help you," a reply came 
from above. 

He bethought himself not to shoot at its head, since 
the bullet might glance off harmless. He shot it 
through the neck. The immense serpent threshed 
about in terrible fashion, crushing bushes and tearing 
up the earth. But it gradually quieted down, and 
finally it lay dead. 

The faint and terrified man took the back trail for 
his camp. He had four gullies to cross. He got over 
the first one without much difficulty. The second 
one troubled him. Just before he started across the 
third one he almost fainted. But he braced up and 
went over it. He was dizzy and wobbling as he ap- 
proached the fourth 'gully. "Be brave now," the 
Great Medicine said to him. He had drd|>ped his 
gun, but the encouraging words led him to pick it 
up and go on. He staggered into and out of this 
fourth obstacle. At the camp he told his wife of 
what had occurred. She gave him a big dose of 
gunpowder in water. Then he vomited, the vomit 
having the same odor as had come from the snake. 

48 



ROAMERS IN THE GAME LANDS 

A second dose of gunpowder brought up more of the 
poison. A third treatment had the same effect, but 
the odor now was almost gone* The fourth time he 
took the mixture it stayed down in his stomach. Then 
he felt all right. Red Haired Bear himself told me 
of this experience. But he was not a reliable man, 
so I never was sure whether it was true or not. 

White Frog and Red Hat told a story of them 
having an adventure of this same kind. They had 
been to the trading post, where they had taken their 
pack horses loaded with skins of beaver, buffalo and 
antelope. While returning they arrived at Tongue 
river just above the mouth of Crow creek. The water 
was high. They dismounted, waded and led their 
horses to an island. For crossing the next channel 
they drove the horses ahead of them. The men were 
naked and were holding their clothing over their 
heads as they waded. 

A monstrous snake rose up from the water and 
threatened them. "It will eat up both of us/' they 
exclaimed together. They prayed the Great Medi- 
cine to pity them. At once there came a flood of 
rain and a whirling wind. The wind picked up the 
snake, dragged it along the water's surface for a short 
distance, then lifted it into the air. It went up, up, 
up, and soon it was gone from their sight. White 
Frog and Red Hat agreed in their stories to us that 

49 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

the snake was so big it looked like a floating log. 
One Cheyenne who heard them said it might have 
been a floating log that looked like a snake. 

When Black Wolf went one time on a deer hunt 
he saw two women sitting on the edge of a cliff. Both 
women were beautiful in face and form. As they 
sat there dangling their feet over the cliff they beck- 
oned to him. He went to them and sat down beside 
them. Pretty soon his nostrils perceived a strong 
odor of deer. At the foot of the cliff, in a pool of 
clear water, he saw a reflection of himself with two 
deer beside him. "You are only two deer," he ac- 
cused the women. At that they both jumped up. 
They changed instantly into deer and went bounding 
away into the timber. 

A Southern Cheyenne out hunting saw a lovely 
woman by a grove of trees, braiding her hair. She 
looked at him and smiled. That was enough to draw 
him straight to her. But when he took hold of her 
he smelled her flesh. 

"Oh, you deceitful deer!" he exclaimed. 

She struggled then to free herself from him. But 
he held firm. He tied her hands together and tied 
her feet together. The deer woman declared: 

"If you keep me thus tied you will die. If you let 
me go loose you will live to be old and always will 
be in good luck." 

50 



ROAMERS IN THE GAME LANDS 

He decided to let her go free. She ran away as a 
doe deer. When the man arrived at his home lodge 
he was wildly insane. Medicine men were called. 
He told them the story of his meeting the deer 
woman. The medicine men prayed for him. His 
right mind soon came back to him. 

I had one time a strange adventure with a deer. 
I shot it with my rifle, the bullet passing through it 
from the rump forward. It ran away, I followed. I 
shot again, this time the bullet going through its 
chest, right to left. It turned around. Another shot 
made another hole through its chest, left to right. A 
fourth and a fifth bullet likewise was sent into and 
out of its front body. It ran to a bushy grove. In 
this grove I found it lying down. It was facing me. 
It was not only alive, but it appeared not to have been 
hurt at all. I hesitated and trembled a little as I 
drew my six-shooter. At close range I aimed at the 
middle of its forehead. The bullet brought blood 
from the exact point where I had aimed. But the 
deer appeared unharmed. I fired again, aiming at 
the same spot, and a new trickle of blood flowed out. 
Still the animal gave no sign of having been injured. 
I stood there and thought about the case. I decided 
to shoot once more an eighth effort. That is two 
times the Indian sacred number four. I moved up 
close and put my revolver's muzzle near the middle 

51 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

of the ridge abo$e the deer's right eye. Holding my- 
self steady, I pulled the trigger. Instantly afterward 
the animal's body became limp. It was dead. 

I do not entirely understand that. It may be I 
was dreaming, but it does not seem like a dream.* 
The Cheyennes consider all deer as having strong 
spirit powers. Medicine men like to get their medi- 
cine strength. 

An old Cheyenne man and his wife told me a story, 
when I was a boy, about a big stone that stands near 
Antelope creek west of the Black Hills. They said 
that at some time, long ago, some Indian girls were 
at play there. They were poking a forked stick into 
a hole, in search for beaver. They touched some- 
thing, twisted, pulled, and brought out some hair 
on the end of the stick. They supposed it to be the 
hair of a wolf, a coyote or a porcupine. As they 
talked of it, a bear of immense size came from the 
hole. It chased the girls, capturing many of them 
and tearing them to pieces. Two sisters escaped. 
The bear followed them, going to their home tepee, 
but it did not harm them. When night came, the 
two girls crept out. They met two young men and 

*In telling, all of these fanciful stories, Wooden Leg exhibited a 
queer mingling of belief and doubt. They show an odd mental streak 
in a man having a large stock of level-headed common sense, and whose 
statements of fact as to genuine occurrences are worthy of full credit. 
He is the kind of man who could^ot tell a lie without at once retract- 
ing and correcting his misstatempt, if he knew it to be such. T. B.M. 

52 



ROAMERS IN THE GAME LANDS 

told them of the frightful animal. "It can not be 
killed by any shot in its head nor its heart nor in 
other parts of its body," they told the two young men, 
"but a shot through its foot, from the bottom up- 
ward, will kill it." The young men considered the 
case. Then they said to the two girls: "All of us 
will hide here and wait." 

When the bear awakened in the morning it learned 
the two girls were gone. It moved about inside and 
then outside, smelling of the ground. . Sniff, sniff, 
sniff, sniff. It set off on the trail of the girls, fol- 
lowing to the base of the great stone. There it sat 
down upon its haunches and looked upward toward 
the stone's top. Pretty soon it began climbing up 
the steep side. A little distance up, its feet slipped 
and it slid down. It tried again, this time going 
higher, but it slid down again. Trials were made at 
many places. But always the effort was a failure. 

The two young men and the two girls were hidden 
close by. One of the young men shot an arrow at 
the bottom of the bear's foot as it was clambering up 
the stone. When it went up again he shot another 
arrow. On another effort of the bear a third arrow 
was sent after it. The three arrows whizzed past 
the bear and went on high into the air. They came 
down without doing any damage. The fourth arrow 
flashed past very close to ihe bearV left hind foot. 

53 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

The animal slid down and ran away. The arrow 
kept on going up, up, and it never came down. 

I have seen many times the long upright marks 
of the bear's claws on this great column of stone. 
They are deep seams or furrows. It must have been 
a monster of a bear. As far back as I can remember, 
all of the Indians called this stone Bear Tepee or 
Bear Lodge.* 

An old Cheyenne man and I were traveling to- 
gether one time past the Bear Tepee. He told me a 
story about it. He said that a long time ago nobody 
knew how long an Indian man journeying alone 
chose to sleep at the base of this tall stone. A buf- 
falo head was lying near him. He slept four nights. 
During that time the Great Medicine took both him 
and the buffalo head to the top of the high rock. 
When the man awakened he could find no way to get 
down. He was hungry and thirsty, but he had neither 
food nor water. He was greatly distressed in mind. 
He thought of his wife and his children. He wept 
and prayed all day. At night, exhausted, he slept 
again. During that night the Great Medicine gently 
took him down again to his leaf bed on the ground. 
The buffalo head was left at the top, near the edge. 
That Indian man was said by some people to have 

* Modern whites know this as "Devil's Tower." 

54 



ROAMERS IN THE GAME LANDS 

been an Apache, others said he was a Shoshone, yet 
others declared he was a Cheyenne. 

I saw that buffalo head many times. The first 
time was when I was with the old man and he told 
me the story of it. He had a spyglass and we looked 
through it. We could see plainly that it was the 
head of a buffalo. I was a small boy at that time, 
eight or ten years old. The Bear Tepee is four or 
five hundred feet high, maybe higher, and its sides 
are straight up and down. How else could a buffalo 
head get up there except it be placed there by the 
Great Medicine? 

I have heard many old Cheyennes say that a long 
time ago the Great Medicine used to come down to 
the earth and talk with people. They said He had 
camped and visited and smoked with the old-time 
Cheyennes. Lots of times I have heard them talk 
about Him having given to our people the Black 
Hills and all of the gold there. 



55 



ra 

Cheyenne Ways of Life. 

The warrior societies were the foundation of tribal 
government among the Cheyennes. That is, the 
members of the warrior societies elected the chiefs 
who governed the people. Every ten years the whole 
tribe would get together for the special purpose of 
choosing forty big chiefs. These forty then would 
select four past chiefs, or "old men" chiefs, to serve 
as supreme advisers to them and to the tribe. There 
were not any hereditary chiefs among the Cheyennes. 

The Elk warriors, the Crazy Dog warriors and the 
Fox warriors were the ruling societies of the Northern 
Cheyennes. Other like organizations had been in 
existence before my time, but during all of the period 
of my boyhood and manhood those three were the 
only active ones in our northern branch of the double 
tribe. Each warrior society had a leading war chief 
and nine little war chiefs. So, there were many 
men who might claim the title of chief. All together 
there were seventy-four such officials, counting both 
the tribal rulers and the warrior society rulers. There 
were four "old men" tribal chiefs, forty tribaLbig 
chiefs, three leading warrior chiefs and twenty-seven 

56 



CHEYENNE WAYS OF LIFE 

little warrior chiefs. Ordinarily they were ranked or 
held in respect in this order, the old men chiefs first, 
the little warrior chiefs last. 

The warrior chiefs had original authority only in 
their societies, each in his own special organization. 
By alternation, though, the tribal chiefs delegated 
governmental power to the warrior chiefs. That is, 
one group or another of the warrior chiefs and their 
followers were called upon to serve as active subordi- 
nate officials to carry out the orders promulgated by 
the big chiefs. Such warrior society group, when on 
this duty, were like the white man's sheriffs, police- 
men, soldiers. 

Promotion in public life followed the line from 
private member of a warrior society to little chief of 
the same, then to leading chief, then to big chief of 
the tribe, finally to old man chief. Of course, all of 
the tribal and old men chiefs were members of one 
or another of the warrior societies. It often occurred 
that in time of battle or in organized great hunting 
expeditions a tribal big chief or an old man chief had, 
during such time, the low standing of a mere private 
person subordinate to the rule of the warrior chiefs. 
And, in many instances some man might be at the 
same time both a warrior chief and a tribal big chief 
or even an old man chief. Little Wolf had this honor 
put upon him. Even after he had become one of 

57 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

the four old men chiefs he was kept in office as lead- 
ing chief of the Elk warriors. 

Four unmarried and virtuous young women were 
chosen as honorary members of each warrior society. 
If one of these entered into marriage or became un- 
chaste she lost her membership and some other young 
woman was chosen in her place. The young women 
took no active part in the proceedings. They were 
allowed merely to sit inside the lodge of assemblage, 
there quietly looking on. At the society dances no 
women were permitted to do any of the work. Two 
little chiefs were appointed on each occasion to do 
the cooking, to serve the feast or to perform any 
other menial service necessary. The meetings or 
dances were held in privately owned lodges of mem- 
bers. The coverings were lifted or were removed so 
that spectators might view the affair from the out- 
side. The three different societies had the same 
character of organization, and their social and mili- 
tary operations were carried out on the same general 
lines. A man could join only one of them. 

I joined the Elk warriors when I was fourteen 
years old. We were camped then at Antelope creek, 
near the Black Hills. Their herald chiefs were going 
about the camp circle calling, "All Elk warriors come 
for a dance and a feast." They were gathering at a 
large tepee made of two family lodges combined into 

58 



CHEYENNE WAYS OF LIFE 

one. Left Handed Shooter, at that time leading chief 
of the Elks, came to my father's lodge and said to me: 
"We want you to join the Elk warriors." 
Oh, how important I felt at receiving this invita- 
tion ! I had been longing for it, waiting to be asked, 
wishing I might grow older more rapidly in order 
to get this honorable standing already held by my 
father and my two older brothers. Seventy or more 
Elks were dancing. Occasionally one fired a gun- 
shot into the air. As they danced they were scraping 
their "rattlesnake sticks," the special emblem of Elk 
membership. Each of these sticks was made of hard 
wood, in the form of a stubby rattlesnake seven or 
eight inches long. On each stick was cut forty 
notches. Another stick was used for scraping back 
and forth along the notches. The combined opera- 
tion of many instruments made a noise resembling 
the rattlesnake's warning hum. Each member owned 
his personal wooden stick, but there was one made 
from an elk horn that was kept always by someone 
as a trustee for the society. No payment nor gift was 
necessary for admission into a warrior organization. 
In the camp circles, in the tribal movings from 
place to place, in the great tribal hunts, in the times 
of Great Medicine or other general ceremonial dances 
in fact, at all times of our lives some one or other 
warrior society was authorized or commanded by the 

59 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

tribal chiefs to take charge of the government. Ordi- 
narily there was shift of the delegated authority by 
regular rotation, but such change in regular order 
was not always the case. The conclave of big chiefs 
decided which society should have it. A society might 
be appointed to act for one day, two days, three 
days, any stated length of time, or they might be 
appointed to serve during the continuation of some 
certain event. At any time their appointment might 
be revoked by the big chiefs and another society 
named in their stead. Anyhow, some one or other 
warrior band was on duty at all times to put into 
execution the will of the big chiefs. 

Perhaps at some time the Crazy Dog warriors 
might be acting as the policemen at this particular 
place of camping. Perhaps the four old men chiefs 
might determine that a general buffalo hunt ought 
to be entered upon. A herald on horseback was sent 
about the camp to proclaim: 

"All chiefs, open your ears and listen. Come to 
the council lodge/' 

There the matter was discussed. Perhaps it was 
decided first to move camp farther down the river, or 
up the river, or over to the next valley, or yet farther 
away. The big chiefs then considered which warrior 
society should conduct the camp movement. Perhaps 
they agreed upon the Fox warriors. The leading 

60 



CHEYENNE WAYS OF LIFE 

chief and the little chiefs of this society were notified 
there at the council. The old man herald went out to 
ride again about the camps and call out: 

"All Cheyennea, open your ears and listen. To- 
morrow morning we move to Tongue river. Have 
your lodges down and yourselves and your horses 
ready. The Fox warriors will lead us." 

The next morning, as all were preparing for the 
move, the Fox warriors assembled out forward in 
the direction of the intended movement. The old 
man herald instructed them: "You are the leaders 
today. Make all of the people obey you. Make 
them stay in their proper places. If any of them dis- 
obey our ordinary rules of travel you may pony-whip 
them, you may shoot their horses, you may kill their 
dogs, you may break their guns or their bows, you 
may punish them in any way that seems to you best, 
except you are not allowed to kill any Cheyenne." 
The Crazy Dog warriors, who had been policemen in 
the camp, now went off duty and became merely 
Cheyenne individuals. The leading chief of the Fox 
warriors was the most important man of that day, 
his little chiefs and their subordinate warriors were 
his helpers. The tribal old men chiefs and big chiefs 
led the camp movement, the Fox warrior band im- 
mediately following them or sending their members 
from time to time back along the caravan to keep 

61 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

order. The big chiefs in front decided when it was 
time to stop for a rest, when to move on again, when 
and where to camp. The Fox soldiers transmitted 
and enforced their orders. When the big chiefs chose 
a spot for the camp their herald stationed himself 
where he could tell all of the oncoming people, 
"Camp here." If there were any disputes about 
special location of lodges the Fox warriors settled the 
disputes. In fact, though, there rarely were any such 
disputes. Every camp circle of the Cheyennes was 
arranged very much like their preceding circles. 
Families or related families or clans set up their 
lodges at all times in about the same location with 
regard to each other. Always the horseshoe incom- 
plete circle opened to the east. Always every indi- 
vidual lodge in the camp likewise had its entrance 
opening toward the east toward the rising sun. 

To organize for the tribal buffalo hunt another 
council was called. This or any other council usually 
was held at and after darkness, by the light of a great 
bonfire. The big chiefs regularly would tell the lead- 
ing warrior chiefs, "We want four good and reliable 
warriors to scout and discover the location of a buf- 
falo herd." When the warrior leaders had nominated 
these four the old man herald moved on horseback 
through the camp calling out their names and the 
duty put upon them. They went to the council and 

62 



CHEYENNE WAYS OP LIFE 

there received their instructions through their war- 
rior chiefs. They performed the scout duty accord- 
ing to their orders nobody ever dared refuse to go 
and upon their return a report was made to the 
old man herald. Meantime, perhaps the big chiefs 
decided that the Elk warriors should conduct the 
buffalo hunting party. The herald went out and 
proclaimed: 

"All Cheyennes, open your ears and listen. Many 
buffalo have been discovered by our scouts. Sharpen 
your knives and your arrow points. See that your 
guns are in good order. Have your riding horses and 
your pack horses ready. Tomorrow morning we go. 
The Elk warriors will lead and conduct the hunt." 

The Elks then actually led the party. Nobody 
but big chiefs were allowed to go in front of them. 
The Elk warriors did all of the scouting for game 
and watching for enemies while the party was on 
the move. Any non-Elk intruder would be pony- 
whipped, or worse. If any Elk himself disobeyed 
the orders of his warrior chiefs this disobedient one 
was punished, either by his fellow Elks upon their 
own initiative or by command of the warrior chiefs. 
The effort at all times was to carry out well what- 
ever governmental task was placed upon the war- 
riors, either on the hunts, at the camps, during a jour- 
ney, in time of battle or under any conditions where 

63 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

they were vested with authority. The three societies 
competed against each other for efficiency in govern- 
mental action as well as in all other affairs apper- 
taining to respectable manhood. There was com- 
petition also within each society, every ambitious 
member trying to outdo his fellows in all worthy 
activities. 

The Fox warriors were leading a buffalo hunt one 
time when I was about sixteen years old. We then 
were on Crow creek, northeast of where Sheridan, 
Wyoming, now stands. Last Bull was the leading 
chief of the Fox soldiers. I was riding with three 
other youths about my age. 

"Oh, lots of buffalo!" one boy suddenly ex- 
claimed. 

We skirted around the band of hunters and got 
forward. A Fox warrior saw us crowding ahead. 
We also saw him, and we whirled our horses to go 
back. Two or three of the Foxes followed us. We 
scattered. I made a dash for Tongue river. It was 
frozen solid. My horse slipped and slid, but I got 
across. My pursuers stopped at the stream, but I 
kept on going away from them. I did not know what 
became of the other three boys. I was scared. My 
heart was thumping, thumping, pounding my breast. 
I expected to be pony-whipped, to have my horse 

64 



CHEYENNE WAYS OF LIFE 

killed and my clothing torn to pieces. But it ap- 
peared they never found out our identity. 

Another time, about a year later, I got into the 
same kind of trouble. This time we were moving 
camp. The Crazy Dog warriors were in the lead 
and conducting the movement. We were traveling 
up the Tongue river, far up, above the present Sheri- 
dan, and were about to go over the divide to the up- 
per Powder river. Two other youths and myself 
forgot the rules. We rode forward from our proper 
place in the procession and went on out to a hilltop, 
there to have a look over the country, as every In- 
dian naturally likes to do. 

Four Crazy Dog warriors were right after us. They 
were riding fast. The other two boys got away, but 
my pony played out on me. I had to stop and dis- 
mount. I was frightened to distraction, but my mind 
was made up to take bravely whatever punishment 
they might inflict. Nevertheless, I became mentally 
upset when four determined-looking Fox warrior po- 
licemen dashed up to me. 

"Do not whip me," I begged. "Kill my horse. 
You may have all of my clothing. Here take my 
gun and break it into pieces." 

But after a talk among themselves they decided 
not to do any of these penal acts. They scolded me 

65 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

and said I was a foolish little boy. They asked my 
name, and I told them. That was the last time I 
ever flagrantly violated any of the laws of travel or 
the hunt. 

A guard line usually was thrown out by the war- 
rior policemen when any buffalo herd was about to 
be attacked. It was required that all of the hunters 
remain behind this line until every preparation was 
made and until the appointed managers gave the word 
for a general advance. Of course, all were excited, 
anxious to get at the game. Or, somebody might 
think the policemen were too slow in completing the 
preparatory steps. So, occasionally an impatient 
hunter became obtrusive. This one was pretty sure 
to bring upon himself a lashing with pony whip 
thongs or a clubbing with the reversed heavy handle. 
Finally would come the signal: 

"Go!" Then the wild Indian chase was on. 
Special warrior society hunts often were engaged 
upon. For these only the members of the one par- 
ticular organization were eligible. The societies 
contested against each other in this regard, each try- 
ing to beat the others in quantity of meat and skins 
brought back to camp. Left Handed Shooter, lead- 
ing chief of the Elk warriors, one time appointed me 
as one of the four preliminary scouts to locate buffalo 
for an exclusively Elk warrior hunt. We went out 

66 



CHEYENNE WAYS OF LIFE 

at night. Winter weather, snow on the -ground. 
Early in the morning we found a big herd. We re- 
turned to camp and reported the discovery. An 
old man herald called the Elk warriors and shouted 
out information of our report and of the proposed 
hunting party. 

Old Bear, a big chief, got four or five other Chey- 
ennes to slip out with him for a premature raid upon 
the herd we had located for our Elk warrior adven- 
ture. Little Wolf, at that time a little warrior chief, 
took with him a band of Elks and followed the law- 
breakers. Little Wolf opened the attack upon them 
by sending an arrow that killed Old Bear's horse. 
The Elk band pony-whipped all of the Old Bear 
group, including the big chief himself, and made 
them go back and stay in camp. 

Feathered Wolf, an Elk warrior, one time at- 
tached himself uninvited to a hunting party of Crazy 
Dog warriors. He was leading two pack horses for 
carrying the meat he expected to get. Some Crazy 
Dogs warned him: 

"You do not belong with us. You ought to go 
back." 

"But I am badly in need of meat," he pleaded. 

Others came and urged him to return. They talked 
of punishing him by whipping, but they did nothing. 
They ended merely by telling him: 

67 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

"You are crazy." 

He mingled with the hunters and shot away all of 
his arrows as they chased the herd. When the killing 
was done he said: 

"I killed one buffalo and helped in the killing of 
another. You should give me plenty of meat.*' 

"Yes, we'll give you some of it," different ones 
promised him. 

But nobody gave him any. He had to go back 
to his home lodge with his two pack horses empty 
and himself hungry. 

At his lodge that evening he announced a smoking 
circle. He stood out in front of his tepee and called 
invitations to many members of the Crazy Dog so- 
ciety. It was supposed he hoped thus to lead them 
into making gifts of the appetizing food. But all 
of the invited ones were busy at something else, so 
he had to smoke alone and the drying poles beside 
his tepee remained bare. His wife brought him the 
smoking outfit. "Ah, kinnikinick," he chuckled con- 
tentedly. He filled his pipe and smoked it to the 
last ashes. Pretty soon he became pale, weak, sick, 
then he vomited. His wife too had punished him. 
She had given him the strongest tobacco she could 
find in the camp. 

Two certain men were observed one time to have 
a big supply of buffalo meat hanging on the drying 

68 



CHEYENNE WAYS OF LIFE 

poles by their tepees. There had been a special war- 
rior society hunt that day, but these men did not be- 
long to that society. Investigation showed they had 
obtained their store from one of the animals killed 
in a side coulee and overlooked by the lawful hunters. 
The meat was taken from the two men, their guns 
were broken, their pack saddles were cut up, their 
lodges were torn down and burned. 

Half a dozen Sioux pushed themselves one time 
into an Elk warrior hunt. We always were friendly 
with the Sioux, about the same as if they were Chey- 
ennes, but these were out of place at this particular 
time, and they knew it. Little Wolf led a party of 
his Elks in whipping them away. Two or three of 
the uninvited guests had blood running from head 
cuts made by the heavy handles of the pony whips. 
The Sioux the plains Indians generally had laws 
and customs similar to ours, so it was considered 
they had incurred our penalty. Often a disobedient 
Cheyenne or an intruding hunter might gain im- 
munity from a whipping by prompt confession of 
guilt and by voluntary yielding of horses to be killed 
or of other property to be destroyed. 

The arrow was the preferred weapon when on a 
tribal hunt in a buffalo herd or when a large party 
were joined in the pursuit. Each rider shot arrow 
after arrow into whatever animal was convenient to 

69 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

him during the tumult of the running chase. When 
it was ended he had one or more arrows in various 
dead buffalo scattered over the area covered by the 
flight of the herd. Every man kept his own arrows 
always marked in some peculiar manner whereby they 
could be identified, so when the field was reviewed 
after the termination of the killing he could find out 
which buffalo he had killed or had helped to kill. It 
could be learned in each instance which arrow was 
the fatal one and which were of little or no impor- 
tance. Thus the claims to skin and meat could be 
settled. In case of disagreement, the chiefs decided 
the question. Gun bullets could not be distinguished 
the one from the other, so the guns were used only 
when one man was hunting alone or when a small 
party of special friends hunted together. The guns 
also had to have powder and lead and caps, which 
we did not always have on hand. We could make 
the arrows, or we often recovered them from the dead 
animal. 

Different tribes had different ways of making their 
arrows. All arrows belonging to members of any 
certain tribe were made according to a certain gen- 
eral plan, so that by examination of any arrow it 
could be learned to what tribe the owner belonged. 
I used to be able to distinguish several different tribal 
forms from one another. I can recollect now the dis- 

70 



CHEYENNE WAYS OF LIFE 

tinguishing features of four of them: The Crow, 
Sioux, Pawnee and Cheyenne. 

The Crow butt end was whittled to a sharp ridge 
and the notch was cut across this ridge, the same as 
was done by the Cheyennes. Their metal or stone 
point was a long triangle with its shortest side at 
the arrow's shaft and with all three sides formed 
in exactly straight lines, these features likewise the 
same as in the Cheyenne arrows. Both of these had 
the slender neck whittled from the notch end in a 
long taper to the main shaft. But the distinction 
was in the size of the shaft. The Crow shaft always 
was fat and heavy. The Cheyenne shaft was slender. 

The Sioux arrow had its notch extremity cut flat 
across the end, in this respect differing from all of 
the others, which were beveled on two sides to make 
a sharp ridge for the notch. The neck of the Sioux 
arrow was begun just below the notch by a circular 
cut straight into the wood. Then, beginning further 
down, the neck was shaved and tapered carefully up 
to this straight cut. The Sioux metal or stone points 
differed from all others. The form in general was 
the same long triangle, but the short side at the ar- 
row's shaft had a deep concave curve. Thus it had 
two horns or barbs. Here was the particular brand 
of the Sioux arrow. 

The Pawnees had the flat butt end and its notch 

71 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

the same as the Sioux. But the neck below the notch 
was tapered like a Crow or a Cheyenne arrow. The 
triangle points were also the same as on the Crow and 
Cheyenne arrows, having no horns or barbs. 

The Cheyenne arrow was distinguished from the 
Pawnee by its notch cut into a sharp ridge instead 
of into a flat surface butt end. Its tapering neck, its 
sharp ridge butt end and its straight line point sep- 
arated it from the Sioux. The diameter of the shaft 
rendered it readily distinguishable from the Crow. 
Moreover, the Cheyennes had one peculiar brand 
that plainly indicated their arrows. This character- 
istic was in the three wavy lines symmetrically spaced 
around the shaft and painted all the way along it 
from the feathers to the base of the hard point. These 
special wavy stripes were designed as having a spirit 
or medicine influence, to help in killing the buffalo. 
Communication with the Great Medicine above us is 
supposed to be made in wavy lines, not straight lines. 

All Indian arrows I ever saw have three rows of 

^ 

clipped feathers set symmetrically into slots in the 
neck and upper shaft for a distance of five or six 
inches. Between these feather rows are three straight 
lines painted in color, usually red. The shaft may 
be painted according to the fancy of the individual, 
or according to his personal mode of branding it. 
Old Cheyennes told -me that in past times all Chey- 

72 



CHEYENNE WAYS OF LIFE 

enne arrows were painted blue* This was done by 
way of respectful regard for the blue waters of a 
certain highly revered lake in the Black Hills. Dur- 
ing my days most arrow points were metal, although 
a few men, especially the older men, continued to 
make them of stone. All Indian arrows were of the 
same length that is, every man made his own ar- 
rows to measure exactly from his armpit to the tips 
of his fingers. 

Other weapons differed in the different tribes, and 
sometimes a certain form of weapon was characteris- 
tic of a certain tribe. The Sioux were the only In- 
dians I knew who made regular use of the stone war- 
club made by attaching an oval stone to the end of 
a stick wrapped with rawhide. The Cheyennes rarely 
carried one of these, while a Sioux appeared not 
fully equipped unless he had one tucked into his belt. 
Instead, the Cheyenne counterpart implement was 
a hatchet or small ax. Sometimes the hatchet was 
transformed into a fancy pipe for ceremonial smok- 
ing. The metal head was drilled for the bowl and 
a little round canal was burned through the central 
length of the handle to serve as a pipestem. 

Spears were used by the Cheyennes. The long 
and slender points might be of metal or they might 
be of stone or of bone, the rib of a buffalo or a bone 
from some other animal serving well for such pur- 

73 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

pose. The shaft was decorated, of course. Great 
care often was taken in its coloring and general de- 
sign. A regular feature of the plan was the eagle 
feather attachments. One eagle feather having a 
black tip dangled from the shaft near the hard point's 
base. Two eagle feathers floated from a slender 
buckskin thong tied to the upper end of the shaft. 

The Sioux had knife sticks for fighting. These 
had long shafts, the same as a spear. But instead of 
the attached point at the end there were three blades 
at the shaft's side and near its end. The blades were 
in a row, close together, and were tied there by raw- 
hide after having been set into a slot. They pro- 
jected out three or four inches from the heavy shaft. 
Sometimes the edges were straight, sometimes they 
were pointed so that they resembled a section of sickle 
bar for a mowing machine. Always they were kept 
sharpened to a keen edge. 

The earrings of an Indian often indicated his tribal 
stock. A Cheyenne ear had but one piercing, only 
one ring, and this ring was looped directly through 
or close up to the ear. The Crow likewise had but 
one piercing and only one ring or shell disc, but this 
was suspended below the ear by an intervening 
strand. The one piercing of the Sioux ear had a long 
loop directly through it, and from the bottom of this 
long loop dangled another loop of the same kind. 

74 



CHEYENNE WAYS OF LIFE 

The Pawnees, Kiowas and Apaches had various pierc- 
ings around the edge of the ear lobe, each piercing 
having in it a small ring. The Arapahoes and the 
Utes had ear decorations resembling the Cheyennes. 

The Sioux wore necklaces, regularly in single 
strands. The Crow necklaces ordinarily were in mul- 
tiple strands. In the old times the Cheyennes did 
not wear decorative necklaces, but later they adopted 
the fashion to some extent. Mostly they designed 
them in single strands, like the Sioux standard plan. 
But the multiple curved loops of the Crows became 
also fashionable among us. Eagle feathers stuck up 
from the back hair of many a Sioux. The number of 
such feathers worn by any one man was supposed to 
denote the number of enemies he had killed. The 
Cheyennes never adopted this custom. 

All Indian lodges coming under my observation 
were built on the same general lines. The conical 
tepee was the standard form. Buffalo skin was the 
standard material for covering the poles. The size 
was regulated according to the quantity of skins avail- 
able or according to the number of persons in the 
household or according to some other special con- 
dition. But there were tribal differences that enabled 
an informed observer to distinguish camps or even to 
classify a lone tepee. 

The Sioux lodge was unusually tall and was nar- 

75 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

row at the base. Its flap opening at the top was large 
and long. The Pawnee lodge was the opposite of 
the Sioux. It was remarkably low and broad, and 
it had a short and small top flap opening. The Chey- 
ennes and the Arapahoes had tepee plans alike, in 
general form midway between the Sioux and the 
Pawnee structure. The camp circle as a whole was 
in all cases the same a horseshoe with its opening 
to the east. All Indians had also the same custom 
of placing each tepee with its entrance opening facing 
the rising sun. 

Inside the Cheyenne lodge an old woman slept just 
at the left side of the entrance. Next past her, still 
on the left side, the lodge's owner and his wife had 
their bed. If the family was large the girls slept 
near the father and mother while the boys were lo- 
cated across on the opposite side of the earth floor. 
Other adults, or whatever guests might be there, 
were placed between the spaces allotted to the boys 
and the girls or were put between the boys and the 
right hand side of the entrance opening. 

An old woman was an important part of every 
household organization. This was the custom among 
all of the plains Indians, especially in families where 
girls were growing up. This old woman saw that 
each occupant of the lodge used only his or her own 
proper bed or place of waking repose. She com- 

76 




CHEYENNE WOMEN SHITTING UP A TEPEE 



CHEYENNE WAYS OF LIFE 

pelled each to keep his or her personal belongings 
beside or at the head of the owner's assigned space. 
She was at the same time the household policeman, 
the night watchman and the drudge. Ordinarily her 
badge of office was a club. She was conceded the 
authority to use this club in enforcing the rules of 
the lodge. 

From fifteen to seventeen buffalo skins were united 
to make a covering for the usual Cheyenne lodge. 
When skins were plentiful not many lodges had less 
than fifteen, regardless of the condition that some 
of the tepees might have in each only a young mar- 
ried couple, with perhaps an old woman or some 
other one or two added people. On the other hand, 
rarely was a lodge larger than seventeen skins, even 
if twenty people were sheltered there. The larger 
lodges had to have heavier poles, and, in moving, 
these with the skins had to be transported by the 
horses. Too much of such burden hindered the prog- 
ress of the camp movement. Big lodges made pleas- 
ant abodes, but they were troublesome in traveling. 
The average and usual Cheyenne tepee was twelve to 
fifteen feet in diameter across its earth floor. The 
height from the floor's center to the tepee's peak was 
the same as the diameter of the floor. That was 
the regular standard architectural plan of a Cheyenne 
lodge. 

77 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

The camp circle of the Northern Cheyenne tribe, 
all assembled, enclosed a space about one-fourth or 
one-third of a mile in diameter. It usually straddled 
a small stream of water. If the location permitted, a 
position was taken near to a larger stream into which 
the small one emptied. Hunting parties or war 
parties of men made themselves temporary night 
shelters of willow wands stuck into the ground, bent 
over and tied together for a dome roof, then covered 
with robes. Or, such parties crept into caves or 
sought the protection of heavy brush and thick foli- 
age. The main camp never went into high moun- 
tains during the winter. Too much snow. Mountain 
campings were made during the summer season. 

For moving the village, the usual time for leaving 
the old site was about nine o'clock in the morning, I 
believe. Not much if any preparation was made until 
that morning came. The arrival at the next stop 
would be about the middle of the afternoon. Long 
before dark the whole village would be set up and 
everybody would be at home, as if this had been the 
dwelling place for many months. A thousand or 
several thousand people might travel along that way 
from day to day, actually moving their towns or cities, 
taking all of their property, their wives and children 
and old people, their horses and their dogs, every- 

78 



CHEYENNE WAYS OF LIFE 

thing that made up a full home life. I think that is 
better than the white people can do. 

The women did all of the work of moving. They 
took down the lodges, packed and attended to the" 
transportation of them and all of the household ef- 
fects, set up the lodges at the new location and put 
all of the furnishing and personal baggage in the 
right places in each lodge. The whole removal was 
accomplished during a part of one day. In such trav- 
eling we sometimes could outrun the soldiers, not- 
withstanding they had only themselves and their 
horses to care for. We often got our homes and all 
of our people and their belongings across rivers where 
the soldiers could not or did not follow us. 

The women brought wood, cut it, kept the fires 
burning, cooked the food, cared for the children, did 
all of the home work. The men took care of the 
horses, guarded against enemies and fought them 
when necessary or when desirable, hunted the wild 
game, brought in the meat and the skins. Ordinarily 
a man did not toil at domestic tasks nor did a woman 
hunt or fight. In emergency, though, either a man 
or a woman might aid or take the place of the other. 

Women used saddles for riding. They sat astride. 
The saddles were made by them, the tree of elkhorn 
or of hard wood, this wrapped with buffalo rawhide 

79 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

sewed in place with shredded tendon sinew thread. 
They also made pack saddles of the same material, 
but having a different form. Old men likewise used 
saddles. But young men always rode bareback. I 
learned to use a saddle as a scout at Fort Keogh after 
our Indian roaming and fighting days were past. 
The white people say we mount a horse from the 
wrong side, but I never changed that. They say too 
that we do not know how to sharpen a knife. In 
doing this we grind only one side of the knife's edge. 
But we make them keen by that method. I see no 
need for grinding both sides of a knife's blade. 

I did not smoke during my boyhood. As a youth I 
took occasional tastes, but the habit was not formed. 
The Cheyennes of those days did not chew tobacco. 
My father gave me a medicine pipe, for devotional or 
ceremonial smoking, when I was seventeen years 
old. He himself made it. The bowl was of red stone. 
My mother made me a long buckskin pouch and 
beaded it, this to contain my pipe and tobacco or, 
the mixture that commonly is known as kinnikinick. 
This mixture was half tobacco plug tobacco shaved 
off and dried and half dried inner bark of the red 
willow. In the South our people used some other 
kind of bark, as our northern red willow did not grow 
there. 

80 



CHEYENNE WAYS OF LIFE 

Old-time pipes, before my days, were made of deer 
leg bone. The bone was wrapped with rawhide strips 
taken from the back of a buffalo's head. This wrap- 
ping was partly for the spirit influence and partly to 
keep the bone from breaking when heated by the 
smoking. 

We wore clothing, winter and summer. We had 
light summer moccasins and heavy winter moccasins. 
These always were cut low and had but one string, 
whereas the Sioux moccasins were cut high, to lap 
around the legs, and had two or more strings. One 
time I saw some white children barefooted. I pitied 
them, supposing them to be very poor. When I was 
a small boy, a soldier at the fort on Buffalo creek gave 
me a hat. Not long afterward I lost it. I was eighteen 
years old before I got another one. It was not cus- 
tomary for men, except old men, to wear any special 
head covering. Women all went bareheaded or cov- 
ered the head with a shawl or a blanket or a robe. 

The buffalo hat was worn by old men. It was 
made of buffalo rawhide. A broad oval segment of 
the skin was used. An irregular circle was marked 
on this surface, the drawing made to accord with the 
shape of the head. From the center to the outer rim 
of this circle several cuts were made. The cut flaps 
were lifted to stand upright. This left the crown 

81 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

wide open and its rim surrounded by the upstanding 
diamond points. A leather thong under the chin held 
the hat in place. 

Our people learned from the Crows this way of 
making hats. That is, we discovered the idea from 
them. One time, when the Cheyennes were camped 
on Tongue river above the present Sheridan, the 
Crows stole some horses from us. As the Cheyennes 
pursued them the Crows abandoned the horses and 
fled. They lost two hats, and the Cheyennes found 
these. They were used as patterns. My father used 
to wear a cloth over his open-top hat, to shield his 
head from the sun's heat. Every old man made his 
own hat. 

Buffalo robes from adult animals served as over- 
coats for men or women. Buffalo calf or deer robes 
were used by the children. Buffalo hair sometimes 
was stuffed into the moccasins to keep the feet warm. 
Grease paint was used on the face for the principal 
purpose of shielding the skin from cold during the 
winter and from sunburn during the summer. The 
most common color was a brownish red, but personal 
fancy might choose some other color or some com- 
bination. Each warrior also had his particular mode 
of painting himself, his spirit or medicine ornamenta- 
tion, when preparing for battle or for death or for 
social mingling. 

82 



CHEYENNE WAYS OF LIFE 

All of the best clothing was taken along with him 
when any warrior set out upon a search for conflict. 
The articles were put into a special bag ordinarily 
a beautifully beaded buckskin pouch, but perhaps 
a rawhide one and this was slung at one side of his 
horse. The bag also contained extra moccasins 
beaded moccasins warbonnet, paints, a mirror, spe- 
cial medicine objects, or anything else of this nature. 
If a battle seemed about to occur, the warrior's first 
important preparatory act was to jerk off all his ordi- 
nary clothing. He then hurriedly got out his fine 
garments. If he had time to do so he rebraided his 
hair, painted his face in his own peculiar way, did 
everything needful to prepare himself for presenting 
his most splendid personal appearance. That is, he 
got himself ready to die. 

The idea of full dress in preparation for a battle 
comes not from a belief that it will add to the fight- 
ing ability. The preparation is for death, in case 
that should be the result of the conflict. Every 
Indian wants to look his best when he goes to meet 
the Qjreat Spirit, so the dressing up is done whether 
the imminent danger is an oncoming battle or a sick- 
ness or injury at times of peace. Some Indian tribes 
did not pay full attention to this matter, some of 
them seeming not to care whether they took life risks 
while naked or while only partly clad or shabbily 

83 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

dad. But the Cheyennes and the Sioux were careful 
in following out the procedure. When any of them 
got into a fight not expected, with no opportunity 
to dress properly, they usually ran away and avoided 
close contact and its consequent risks. Enemy peo- 
ple not understanding their ways might suppose 
them to be cowards because of such flight. In fact, 
these same apparent cowards might be the bravest 
of the brave when they have on their good clothing 
and feel that they may present a respectable appear- 
ance if called from this life to meet the Great Spirit. 
The naked fighters, among the Cheyennes and the 
Sioux, were such warriors as specially fortified them- 
selves by prayer and other devotional exercises. 
They had special instruction from medicine men. 
Their naked bodies were painted in peculiar ways, 
each according to the direction of his favorite spiri- 
tual guide, and each had his own medicine charms 
given to him by this guide. A warrior thus made 
ready for battle was supposed to be proof against the 
weapons of the enemy. He placed himself in the 
forefront of the attack or the defense. His thought 
was: "I am so protected by my medicine that I do not 
need to dress for death. No bullet nor arrow can 
harm me now." On the other hand, a warrior not 
made ready by special religious exercise and ap- 
pliances had in his heart the thought: "A bullet or an 

84 



CHEYENNE WAYS OF LIFE 

arrow may hit me and kill me. I must dress myself 
so as to please the Great Spirit if I should go now to 
Him." 

Warbonnets were not worn by all warriors. In 
fact, there were only aiew such distinguished men in 
each warrior society of our tribe. It was expected 
that one should be a student of the fighting art for 
several years, or else that he be an unusually apt 
learner, before he should put on the crown of eagle 
feathers. He then did so upon his own initiative, or 
perhaps because of the commendatory urgings of his 
seniors. The act meant a profession of fully ac- 
quired ability in warfare, a claim of special accom- 
plishment in using cunning and common sense and 
cool calculation coupled with the bravery attributed 
to all warriors. The wearer was supposed never to 
ask mercy in battle. If some immature young man 
pretended to such high standing before it seemed to 
his companions that he ought to do so, he was twitted 
and shamed into awaiting his proper time. I first 
put on my warbonnet when I was thirty-three years 
old, fourteen years after I had quit the roaming life. 
After a man had been accepted as a warbonnet man 
he remained so throughout his lifetime. War chiefs 
and tribal chiefs ordinarily were warbonnet men, but 
this was not a requirement for these positions. Pure 
modesty might keep the bravest and most capable 

85 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

fighter from making the claim. Also, an admittedly 
worthy wearer of the warbonnet might not be chosen 
for or might refuse all official positions. The 
feathered headpiece, then, was not a sign of public 
office. It was a token of individual and personal feel- 
ing as to his own fighting capabilities. 

The warbonnet was made by the man who was to 
wear it. His wife, mother or sister made only the 
beaded band for the forehead. The man made also 
whatever spirit charm objects he might use, or he got 
a medicine man to make them for him. The women 
made all of the war shirts, leggings, moccasins and 
such clothing for the men. They also made all of 
the common clothing for the men, for themselves, 
and for all members of the household. The men 
made their own pipes, weapons, lariat ropes and such 
other articles as were used by men only. 

Our hand mirrors were not used entirely for dress- 
ing and painting. We made use of them for signal- 
ing. Two persons who understood each other could 
exchange thoughts in this way over long distances, 
and even when they could not see each other. Some 
kinds of such signals were understood by all of our 
people. The little glass was often useful in ap- 
proaching a camp when the traveler was. in doubt 
whether it was an assemblage of his own people or 
of an enemy or unknown people. In such cases, 

86 



CHEYENNE WAYS OF LIFE 

flashes of inquiry and flashes of response, or lack 
of responses, settled the doubt. 

My father bought me a rifle and a six-shooter when 
I was about sixteen years old. He got them at a 
trader's store somewhere, when he went away on a 
journey to the place. He exchanged buffalo robes 
for them. The rifle was a muzzle loader, using pow- 
der, bullet and caps. The six-shooter also was loaded 
in the same way. Before that time I had learned to 
shoot with other people's guns, but these were the 
first ones I ever owned. 

Some Indians used to cut off the rifle barrels, to 
make them lighter for carrying on horseback. It was 
supposed they would shoot just as well with the short 
barrel. We never cut off the stock. The shortened 
rifles were used in chasing buffalo on horseback. 
Such weapons could be handled with one hand while 
the horse was controlled with the other. They were 
known to us as the "buffalo gun." 

An old-time way of killing buffalo was by chasing 
them in winter over a steep bluff into a deep snow- 
drift. As they floundered there they could be speared 
or beaten to death. A few times I was in that kind of 
hunt. I heard old people tell of having used snow- 
shoes to go after buffalo, but I never saw any of that 
kind of hunting. We always stripped the meat from 
the bones while butchering. The only bones we took 

87 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

were the ribs. We sometimes used the legs as mauls 
to break up the ribs. Oh, how good was buffalo rib 
roast! 

Four arrows was the regular allowance for the 
killing of one buffalo during a horseback chase. The 
need of more than that number was discreditable to 
the skill of the bowman. Less than that was a matter 
for boasting. If one killed a buffalo with only one 
arrow, that was wonderful. 

I have helped in the chasing of antelope bands 
over a cliff. In the Black Hills was one special place 
where we worked for our meat in that manner. The 
creek near by was called Antelope creek. The first 
time I went there an old man accompanied me. We 
located ourselves in hiding near the base of the cliff, 
with women and old people and children. Two young 
men rounded up a herd and drove them over for us. 
Many of them were killed or got broken legs. We 
clubbed to death the injured ones. 

We could get food, clothing and shelter from the 
buffalo only. Saddles and harness, halters and bri- 
dles, were made by using their rawhide. Stout thongs 
for all purposes were cut from them. For a raw- 
hide lariat rope, long strands were cut by following 
around the outside of a buffalo rawhide. Three or 
four of these strands were plaited together. Buffalo 
hair, particularly from the neck of a bull, also was 



CHEYENNE WAYS OF LIFE 

spun into long strands and plaited to make a lariat. 
The buffalo, then, was very important to us in our 
mode of life. When any man went out specially hunt- 
ing them he usually led two or three pack horses to 
bring in his gathered supply of food and skins. 

Fishing lines were made of horsehair. The hairs 
were tied to make long threads, and these were 
plaited together. We got metal hooks from the white 
men traders. I have caught rabbits also with baited 
hooks on the horsehair lines. I heard of eagles hav- 
ing been captured in that way. But I never tried it 
on an eagle. The Arapahoes used to be great eagle 
hunters. Old men told me the Cheyennes in past 
times had caught them from pits. The pit was cov- 
ered with sticks, and a dead rabbit or some other 
tempting flesh bait was placed upon the sticks over 
the center of the pit. The hunter hid himself be- 
low the bait. When an eagle alighted he seized its 
legs, jerked it down, grabbed its head and wrung 
its neck. 

Twisting rabbits out of a hollow log, using a forked 
stick to get the hold for pulling them, was a boy- 
hood game. I set my muzzle loader rifle one time 
on the upper Rosebud as a trap and caught a fox. 
I have caught coyotes by that same means. The tak- 
ing of the bait pulled the trigger and shot the animal. 
A piece of fat meat was the best lure for them. I 

89 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

have poisoned lots of wolves and got their pelts. 
A good way is to put the poisoned meat upon the top 
of a stick stuck into the snow, the meat being about 
on a level with a wolf's body. The trapper goes back 
next day and follows the trial of whatever wolf might 
have gone away from the stick. 

My first choice of meat was antelope. Buffalo 
was a close second choice. Deer and elk came next. 
It appeared, though, that no Indian ever got actually 
turned against buffalo flesh. Beaver, rabbit, prairie 
chickens, bear, fish and turtles are good. Otter or 
wolf are not good, except wolf pups taste good if one 
be hungry. Dogs are the same as wolves. An old 
dog or an old wolf being boiled sickens me. Boiling 
pups give out almost as bad an odor. 

Salt was in use by the Cheyennes before I was 
born. We used it when we had it, but we did not al- 
ways have it. There was a stream known to the 
Indians as Salt creek somewhere in the South. From 
there the Southern Cheyennes used to bring to us 
great chunks of salt. We sometimes smoked our 
meat, partly to help in preserving it and partly be- 
cause the flavor was an agreeable change at times. 

Steel and flint was the usual source of fire. 
Neither my older brother nor myself had these, but 
my father had a good pair. We used to borrow from 

90 



CHEYENNE WAYS OF LIFE 

him. In the usual personal traveling pack was a 
small box or bag containing steel, flint and kindling. 
Dried buffalo dung, usually known as "buffalo 
chips," makes good kindling when it is pulverized. 
Spark, kindle, blow, spark, kindle, blow, until a 
small blaze is started. Then put on twigs or grass, 
then small wood, then large wood. Buffalo chips 
in their natural chunks made good wood. 

The Crows used to have a custom of making a pile 
of buffalo chips to be kicked to pieces by whoever 
might come to camp pretending to bear an important 
message. This was by way of oath that he would 
tell the truth. There was no such custom among the 
Cheyennes. Our way was to build a bonfire and 
call the chiefs. No oath of any kind was taken. It 
was supposed the truth would be told without special 
promise. Perhaps that was not the case with the 
Crows. 

I have heard of another Crow custom different 
from the Cheyenne way. I have been told that when 
a Crow stole a horse or found any article it was ex- 
pected of him that he give it away. It was considered 
not right for him to keep it. A Cheyenne might pre- 
sent a stolen horse or a found article to a relative or 
a friend, but it was regarded as entirely fair and 
proper for him to keep it for himself if he chose to 

91 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

do so. Ordinarily he kept it I admire the old Crow 
way of acting in that respect. Such conduct makes 
a good and unselfish heart. 

The Sioux often buried their dead on scaffolds, 
but I never saw any Cheyenne burials in that way. 
Sometimes our dead were put upon platforms on tree 
branches. Mostly, though, they were placed in small 
hillside rocky caves if these were convenient. In 
later times, and in many instances at the present day 
on our reservation, the dead body was deposited on 
the surface of the ground on a rocky hill or in some 
place out of the way of usual travel. The body was 
well wrapped in blankets or skins, and it may or may 
not have been put into a wooden box. In either case 
a heap of stones was piled over it to shield it from 
animals. 

Our women used to cut their legs and arms, usually 
in crosswise slashes, as an act of mourning. Some 
of them the older ones yet do this. A married 
woman cut off her hair, in ragged form, if her hus- 
band died. In mourning for other relatives the hair 
might be worn loose and uncombed for a long or a 
short time. Men did not cut the flesh in mourning. 
They let loose the hair or cut off their braids. Men 
who had lost relatives often cut off also the manes 
and the tails of their horses as a sign of mourning. 

There was no marriage ceremony among the Chey- 

92 



CHEYENNE WAYS OF LIFE 

ennes. Such union was mainly a simple agreement 
between the two principal parties. In far back old 
times young men purchased their brides, but during 
my days this was not the custom among Us. In our 
later practice presents might be given by the young 
man, these ordinarily to the girl's brothers. But 
these were given after the marriage, as an indication 
of good will, not as a purchase price. Reciprocal 
gifts often were made to the newly married couple. 
The older way of entering upon the preliminary 
steps toward marriage was for the young man first to 
consult his own father. An old woman relative was 
enlisted as an emissary. "Tell the girl's father I will 
give him four horses (or some other number of 
horses) for his daughter as a wife for my son." The 
old woman went and negotiated with the father and 
his daughter. If the offer or some modification of it 
were agreed upon, the initiative father gathered to- 
gether or borrowed from relatives such horses or 
blankets or other gifts as were required. These were 
taken to the lodge of the girl's father. The pros- 
pective bride was put upon a blanket. Her personal 
belongings were put there with her or were wrapped 
in another package. She and her property were 
carried to the lodge of the young man's father and 
placed inside, the carriers leaving her there and going 
elsewhere. The young man seized her as his wife. 

93 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

All of the supposed purchase gifts often were be- 
stowed upon the young couple. Relatives of the two 
parties exchanged presents and compliments. The 
old woman emissary got a horse. Gifts all around 
were made in accordance with the ability of the peo- 
ple interested and in accordance with the degree of 
satisfaction felt because of the event. 

Our most common custom was for the young man 
to do all of his own managing of the affair. In the 
night time he crept stealthily to the vicinity of the 
loved one's parental tepee. He looked and listened 
listened long and intently. He crept closer, still 
closer, until he was at the outside wall of that side 
of the lodge where slept the one he was seeking. He 
whispered, perhaps had to whisper more loudly, to 
awaken her. They conversed in whispers, possibly 
the first time they ever had spoken directly to each 
other, although all their lives they had lived in the 
same camps. 

"Will will will you marry me?" 

"Y-y-yes." 

She crept out and joined him. They went together 
to the lodge of the young man's brother or sister or 
to a place where dwelt elder relatives of his. 

The next morning two intruders were discovered 
there, a young man and his young wife. The dis- 

94 



CHEYENNE WAYS OF LIFE 

covery was announced, all parties interested were in- 
formed. Not often was the information displeasing. 
Ordinarily all concerned were contented and mani- 
fested their contentment in the usual exchange of 
gifts. 

The newly married couple lived temporarily at the 
lodge of relatives on one or the other side, prefer- 
ably with a brother or a sister of the husband. This 
was but a fleeting residence. The first important duty 
of the husband was to get skins for a tepee, either by 
borrowing them or by taking them in the hunt. Then 
it was the duty of the young wife to tan and sew to- 
gether these skins and set up a home lodge. 

Plural wives were kept by many of the old Chey- 
ennes. The one family lodge sheltered the entire 
combined family. Commonly the two or more wives 
were born sisters. This condition checked or pre- 
vented the jealous quarreling likely to occur were 
they from different families. Two wives ordinarily 
was the limit. But in my time I knew two different 
men who each had three wives living with him. In 
each of these instances the three wives were sisters. 
The two men were named Red Arms and Plum Tree. 
Both of them and their entire families were in the 
Cheyenne camp on the Little Bighorn when we had 
the great battle there. Plum Tree was the father of 

95 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

Sun Bear and Two Feathers. Both of these sons of 
his fought the soldiers at that time, and Two Feathers 
is yet living here on the Tongue river. 

Captive women from other tribes were made wives 
of our men. There were many of such among us. 
Spotted Hawk's mother was a Ute woman captured 
by our people when she was a small girl. The old 
Chief Dull Knife, or Rabbit, or Morning Star, had as 
his wife a Pawnee captive woman. At the time she 
came to us, two other Pawnee women were brought 
and were taken into marriage for bringing up Chey- 
enne children. Crow women stolen long ago by our 
warriors in raids were mothers of some important 
Cheyennes, including Big Foot, Big Thigh and the 
Chiefs Crazy Head and Little Horse. I do not know 
of any Cheyenne women having been captured from 
us by the Crows. The Pawnees and the Shoshones 
got away with some of them. 

An unfaithful wife did not incur any public 
penalty, according to the laws of the Cheyennes and 
the Sioux. Her husband might inflict some penalty. 
That was permissible, but he was not conceded the 
right to kill her. I knew one man who cut a great 
gash in his wife's forehead because of her going with 
another man. Ordinarily, though, the loss of his 
wife's affection was looked upon as a joke on the 
husband, and he kept quiet about it or pretended that 

96 



CHEYENNE WAYS OF LIFE 

he did not bewail the loss. The Arapahoes had a 
tribal punishment for a wife's unfaithfulness. They 
cut off the end of the woman's nose. Then any 
future observer might have notice of her frailty when 
contemplating the taking of her as his wife. 

Fighting between Cheyennes, either men or 
women, was forbidden by the tribal laws. In case 
of a fight some chief near at hand would call out: 
"Warriors, separate these fighters and whip them." 
The warrior policemen then on duty would respond 
to the call. A band of them would give such punish- 
ment as seemed to them fitting. If the fighters re- 
newed their strife they might have punishment added, 
might have their tepees torn down, their horses 
killed, property damage done to them in some other 
way, any suitable and sufficient punishment except, 
no policeman warrior nor anyone else lawfully could 
kill a Cheyenne. 

Pony whips, either the lashes or the heavy stick 
handles, were the customary attacking weapons in a 
personal fight. Cheyennes did not use fists as the 
white people do. Not often did any two women fight. 
If they did, they merely scratched and pulled hair. 
It was more of a comic show than an alarming sight 
to see two women clawing each other. I never 
heard of any Cheyenne woman killing another nor 
maliciously killing a man. Nor did the men kill 

97 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

women. I used to hear old people talk about a Chey- 
enne named Wounded Elk who had beaten his wife 
and then shot her, killing her. I never heard of any 
other like case. That incident happened before I 
was born. 

Suicides were not uncommon among us. Men shot 
themselves, women hung themselves. Foolish ones 
yet do such acts. Several years ago my neighbor and 
friend Whirlwind shot himself to death. Five or six 
years ago a woman hanged herself at Lame Deer. 
Many of these sad occurrences, particularly among the 
women, have come to pass during my lifetime. 

A sister of Bobtail Horse and Hollow Wood hung 
herself when I was yet a small boy and our people 
were camped on a branch of the Tongue river. Her 
mother had scolded and threatened her, but had not 
struck her, as the striking of any child was not cus- 
tomary among the Cheyennes. But the girl was 
ashamed and crestfallen because of the scolding. 
She brooded a while, then she disappeared. Search- 
ers failed to find her. Two years later, a Cheyenne 
young man hunting deer in that vicinity found the 
remains of her body suspended by the neck from a 
tree limb. Several years before that time another 
young woman had done this same act near there on 
this same stream. From this first incident, and con- 
firmed by the later one, the creek got a permanent 

98 



CHEYENNE WAYS OF LIFE 

name. It became known as Hanging Woman creek. 
It flows into Tongue river from the east side, just 
above the present white man village of Birney, 
Montana. 

As we were in camp one time on the Rosebud, be- 
low Lame Deer creek, another boy and I went ram- 
bling afoot among the timber by the stream. We 
suddenly came upon a woman dangling and stran- 
gling. I had no knife. The other boy had one. 

"Cut the rope," I urged him. 

He already was about to do this. We let the 
woman down upon the ground. I ran to the creek 
near by, got a mouthful of water, hurried back and 
squirted the water into her face. I stayed beside her 
while my companion rushed into the camp to tell her 
people. A band of women came, bringing a blanket. 
They put the disabled one upon the blanket and 
carried her to her home lodge. A medicine man was 
called. The next day I saw the woman. She gave 
no indication then of having had any unusual ex- 
perience. 

A widow Cheyenne woman was living in our camp 
at a time when we had stopped on the east side of the 
upper Little Bighorn river. Her husband had been 
killed three or four years before then, in the battle 
where Cheyennes and Sioux hacLwon a great victory 
over the soidieis. (Fort Phil Kjterny, 1866.) From 

99 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

this Little Bighorn camp my older brother and an- 
other boy and myself went out riding. I then was 
about twelve years old. Ahead of us, on a branch- 
ing creek, we saw a woman walking rapidly afoot. 
She had a blanket over her head and shoulders. 
She turned into a thickly wooded gulch beside the 
creek and disappeared into the timber. We wondered 
a little at her strange actions, but we felt it not proper 
to follow her. Pretty soon three other boys came 
galloping their horses. 

"Did you see any lone woman around here?" they 
asked anxiously. 

"Yes, she went there," and we indicated the 
wooded gulch. 

My two companions followed them. I went to a 
plum patch. As I stood there eating plums I saw a 
man and a woman hurrying up toward the gulch. 
Both of them were crying. I followed them. 

The five boys were trying to revive the woman be- 
ing sought, who had hanged herself. But she now 
was dead. The body was rolled into the^blanket she 
had been wearing and she was taken into camp. 

This widow had been dependent upon friends for 
her support since her husband's death. She had a 
daughter eight or nine years old. One day the young 
widow asked her mother for a certain fine robe. The 
mother refused. The request was urged. Still the 

100 



CHEYENNE WAYS OP LIFE 

mother for some reason said, "No." The aggrieved 
and disconsolate young woman was so downcast by 
this apparent coldness of her mother that she went 
out and hanged herself. 

My mother's sister hung herself in their family 
lodge when we were in camp one time on Powder 
river. I was nine years old. Our family lodge was 
right beside the one where dwelt this aunt of mine. 
My mother heard the noise of the struggling and 
strangling. The sister's tepee entrance flap was tied 
shut, but my mother burst through it. She found 
my aunt suspended by a rawhide rope tied high upon 
a pole of the lodge. She hastily cut the rope and 
cut it again from her sister's neck. White Bull, a 
medicine man, was called. His medicine then was 
the tusks of a bear. He held these over and around 
my aunt while he got down upon his hands and knees 
and grunted like a bear. He kept this up until she 
suddenly had a hard coughing spell and brought up 
a chunk of something that had been choking her. 
She soon stood up and was all right. White Bull was 
a good medicine man. He saved the lives of lots of 
Cheyennes. 

Only one wildly insane Cheyenne person did I ever 
see. As I was out on a hill beside the camp one day 
I heard a woman screaming. I looked in the direc- 
tion of the sound and saw a woman outside a lodge 

101 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

charging about here and there and tearing off her 
clothing. People were running to the scene. I 
hastened down there. A chief called out: 

"Warriors, come." 

Warrior policemen rushed there from all parts of 
the camp. They seized the woman and held her while 
medicine men were summoned. I stood there among 
the surrounding crowd and watched the proceedings. 
Finally the medicine men caused her to gag and 
choke and cough out the tail of a deer. At once she 
came into her right mind. Our medicine men always 
could cure that kind of sickness. 

This woman had another attack of this same kind 
some months after that first one. The medicine men 
gave her the same kind of treatment. Again she spat 
out the tail of a deer and instantly became sane. Not 
long after that she got married. She had a third 
attack a month or so after the marriage. Her hus- 
band did .not send for any medicine man this time. 
He himself tied her and whipped her. He beat and 
lashed his wife until she spat out a deer tail. This 
cured her right away. I never heard of her going in- 
sane after that time. 

The killing of any Cheyenne was the most serious 
offense against our tribal laws. The punishment was 
prompt. A council of the big chiefs and the warrior 
chiefs was called at once. The case was inquired 

102 



CHEYENNE WAYS OF LIFE 

into. If guilt was evident, the offender began with- 
out delay the payment of his penalty. Sometimes ac- 
tion was taken without the council being assembled, 
the situation being so clear that unanimity of feeling 
was expressed either for or against the person charged 
with the crime. The defendant was not permitted to 
be present at the trial council. When the decision 
was rendered he was notified at his lodge by the war- 
rior policemen. If found guilty they proceeded at 
once to put into effect the regular fixed and standard 
punishment. 

"Get ready to go/' they ordered him. 

Banishment for four years was the main penalty. 
It had to be entered upon that same day. If the 
offender protested or dallied, he might suffer the addi- 
tional infliction of being whipped, of having his 
horses killed or his tepee destroyed. If he acceded 
willingly, he was allowed to take along his posses- 
sions. In any case, he had to go. His wife or his 
children might go with him or remain with the tribe, 
as they might choose. If he had a medicine pipe, that 
sacred object regularly possessed by every adult male 
Cheyenne, his very first act of entrance upon the 
banishment was the smashing to fragments of this 
most revered talisman. Everything else he owned 
he might take along with him. But he must not have 
the devotional medicine pipe. 

103 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

Two or three miles from the main camp was con- 
sidered a sufficient distance for the banished one. 
Relatives might visit him there or take food to him, 
but it was not allowable for them to remain long, 
and in no case should they remain after sundown. 
The chief spiritual guide or medicine man of the 
tribe withdrew the sacred protection, so the outlawed 
one was altogether out of touch with the Great Medi- 
cine. He kept watch of the camp movements, and he 
could follow at a distance with his lone tepee and set 
it up at a distance within sight of but out of con- 
venient hearing of the new camp location. He hunted 
alone. If in the course of his hunting he accidentally 
came close to other Cheyennes, it was expected he 
should hasten away from them. The warrior police- 
men would whip him, or they might kill him, if he 
should offer to intrude himself. It was not permis- 
sible for anyone to speak to him nor in any other 
manner extend to him a friendly recognition. He was 
entirely avoided or, it was required of him that he 
entirely avoid all other Cheyennes. Day after day, 
month after month, summer and winter, fair or foul 
weather, for four complete years he lived altogether 
the life of a scorned hermit. He was conceded the 
right to join some other tribe, but he did not do this. 
The great obstacle was, the people of the other tribe 
surely would ask: "Whence came you, and why?' 5 

104 



CHEYENNE WAYS OF LIFE 

When the four years ended, the absolved man came 
back and took temporary abode in the lodge of rel- 
atives. Soon he set up his own lodge* He was ad- 
mitted then to the principal rights, privileges and 
immunities of a recognized member of the tribe. But 
to this rehabilitation there were some important ex- 
ceptions. For one, he never thereafter was allowed 
to have a medicine pipe nor to take part in any smok- 
ing circle. He was tolerated in personal presence 
there, if he chose thus to place himself, but as the 
pipe was being moved along from one to another it 
always went on past him, just as if he were not there 
at all. Nobody abused him. They simply ignored 
him. Hence, he ordinarily kept entirely away from 
such gatherings. 

An insignificant little pipe having a short stem 
was conceded to him as an individual comfort. But 
he had to smoke always alone. Such little pipes were 
made of stone or of the leg bone of a deer or of some 
other material not used for making the venerated 
pipe used in formal smoking. When I was a little boy 
I used to see one certain very old man who smoked 
one of these little short-stemmed pipes. I did not 
understand why he should do this. I asked my father 
about it. He told me: "He killed a Cheyenne." 

Social ostracism in various ways haunted the sub- 
sequent life of the murderer otherwise cleansed from 

105 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

his stain. If he came hungry to any lodge he was 
fed. But when he was gone, the spoon or dish he had 
used was destroyed. If he sat upon a robe, nobody 
else ever afterward would sit upon it. If he became 
needy, gifts were taken to his lodge, but this was 
done by way of pity rather than by way of friendly 
feeling. By exemplary conduct he might partly re- 
store his standing, but it never was fully restored. 

One time, when I was a boy five or six years old, 
all of the Northern Cheyennes and all of the Southern 
Cheyennes were camped together by the Giving 
White Medal river.* Each of the tribes had its 
sacred medicine tepee, the Northern Cheyennes for 
their Buffalo Head and the Southern Cheyennes for 
their Medicine Arrows. The great double camps re- 
mained together several days. There were many cere- 
monies, many social dances and other affairs, much 
going back and forth between the two camps in the 
renewal of old acquaintance and the making of new 
acquaintance. 

Chief of Many Buffalo and Rolling Wheel were 
two men belonging then to our Northern Cheyenne 
tribe. Chief of Many Buffalo was not married. Roll- 
ing Wheel had a wife and a small boy. This wife was 
tempted by the single man, and she took her boy and 
went to live with him. Rolling Wheel complained to 

* Smoky Hill river (?). 

106 



CHEYENNE WAYS OF LIFE 

the chiefs. He asked that Chief of Many Buffalo 
be compelled to give him a certain running horse, the 
swiftest animal in the whole tribal herd. 

"Yes, he must give you that horse/' the chiefs de- 
cided. 

An old man was sent to notify Chief of Many Buf- 
falo. The owner of the racer announced that he 
would keep it, that he had concluded he did not want 
the woman. He sent her away to her father's lodge. 
"That makes no difference," the old man said. 
"Rolling Wheel now owns that horse." 

He went and informed the aggrieved husband of 
the situation. He told him: 

"The horse belongs to you. Go and get it." 

"I go now," Rolling Wheel replied. 

He took his lariat rope and went out among the 
herd. There on a little knoll stood Chief of Many 
Buffalo, armed with a rifle. 

"Go away," the armed man commanded. 

But Rolling Wheel kept on after the horse. The 
rifle flashed and barked. The man with the lariat 
tumbled forward dead. Chief of Many Buffalo was 
a murderer. 

This banished man was not allowed to have any 
tepee. For four years he slept in caves or in other 
natural shelters he might find in the neighborhood of 
our camping places. At the end of his term of isola- 

107 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

tion he left us and went to the Southern Cheyennes. 
There he married a widow of that tribe. Soon after- 
ward he brought her and her two children to join us. 
They made their permanent home with our people. 
I remember clearly the time of their arrival at our 
camp. I was ten years old. We were on Crow creek, 
a stream that flows into Tongue river just north of 
the present Sheridan. 

The misguided wife of the dead Rolling Wheel re- 
mained for several years an inhabitant of her father's 
lodge. Finally she was married to another Chey- 
enne. She was my aunt, a sister of my father, White 
Buffalo Shaking Off the Dust. 

A Cheyenne named Hawk came to us when I was 
a small boy. I heard people talk of him. They said 
he had been away four years, in consequence of his 
having killed Sharp Nose. From the repeated stories 
I learned the details. 

The two men had been out together capturing wild 
horses or on a raid upon an enemy herd. They 
brought home three horses, one of them considered a 
specially good animal and the other two of inferior 
grade. Each one wanted to keep the first choice and 
give the two others to his companion. They quar- 
reled. It appeared that Sharp Nose had the better 
claim to preference, but Hawk had possession of the 
disputed animal. He had it picketed beside his lodge. 

108 



CHEYENNE WAYS OF LIFE 

Sharp Nose on horseback and his father afoot went 
there to argue further about the matter. Hawk sat 
just outside his tepee entrance. He had his bow and 
arrows. As the two approached, he stood up and 
declared: 

"I am going to kill you right now." 

His arrow went through the body of the young man 
on horseback. Sharp Nose plunged forward and fell 
dead to the ground. His father shouted impreca- 
tions upon the hot-headed killer. The father of Hawk 
intervened to take a part in the affair. This old man 
went into their tepee and came out with a muzzle 
loading rifle in his hands. The father of the dead 
Sharp Nose turned and walked away toward the 
camp boundaries. The rifle was leveled and fired at 
him. He staggered, evidently wounded, but he did 
not fall. The shooter reloaded his rifle with powder, 
bullet and cap. By that time the retreating victim 
was far off and still walking away. A second shot 
was sent after him. This time the result was fatal. 

Hawk and his father were banished at once, not 
being allowed to take with them any property what- 
ever. I used to gaze upon the returned Hawk with 
awe-stricken feelings. People whispered, "He killed 
a Cheyenne." I do not remember ever having seen 
his father. I believe the old man died while they 
were in exile. The killing had been done somewhere 

109 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

between Cherry creek and the Arickaree river (north- 
eastern Colorado). When Hawk joined the tribe 
again we were near the agency south of the Black 
ffills. 

No property indemnity payment nor any other 
substitute penalty could take the place of the four 
years of banishment put upon a willful killer. If a 
killing were accidental, the survivor might be com- 
pelled to give horses and other presents to the rela- 
tives of the deceased, or he voluntarily and promptly 
might do his best to make amends to them in that 
manner. If no blame whatever rested upon him, he 
need pay nothing. Yet, it was customary for him to 
show in some such way his sadness of heart because 
of the occurrence. 

Two youths, brothers, found one time a wolf's den. 
One of them took his lariat and crawled into the hill- 
side cave to get pups. He felt about in the darkness, 
got the rope about a pup's hind feet and dragged it 
out. They knocked it in the head and he went back 
after another one. This time, either a pup or an old 
wolf bit his hand. He retreated. Outside he got a 
forked stick. With this projecting out in front of 
him, he returned to the attack upon the wolves. The 
forked end got engaged in the hair and skin of the 
wolf. The youth twisted and tugged, backing out 
and dragging after him the snarling and snapping 

110 



CHEYENNE WAYS OF LIFE 

animal. The brother stood with his rifle poised and 
ready to shoot. Limbs of brush diverted his aim, and 
the bullet crashed into the head of the other boy. 
The shocked and weeping brother put the dead body 
upon a horse and took it to their home lodge. Peo- 
ple flocked there to see and to hear. 

"You killed him in anger," somebody accused. 

"No, it was an accident," he sobbed out. And he 
explained how it had occurred. 

A group of warrior policemen went with him out 
to the wolf's den. There he rehearsed for their ob- 
servation all of the incidents of the happening. They 
became fully satisfied that he had no intention to kill 
his brother, that it truly was entirely accidental. The 
youth was released with no penalty whatever. 

As we were camped one time on the upper Powder 
river, when I was about thirteen years old, Wolf Medi- 
cine and other men loaded their pack horses with 
buffalo robes and other skins and went to the trader 
post at the southward (Fort Laramie) for buying 
some supplies. They got tobacco, caps, powder, lead, 
sugar, and goods of that character. Wolf Medicine 
brought a sack of flour. Our women were just then 
learning how to make bread. Wolf Medicine's wife 
knew how to make it so it tasted good. He was a 
little chief of the Elk warriors, and he wanted to give 
them a feast. He said to his wife: 

111 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 



"Make plenty of bread. I shall invite all Elks to 



come." 



"How," she assented, and she went immediately 
at mixing flour and water. Then: "Oh, I have no 
soda." 

A young woman there said: "My mother has soda. 
I will go and get some." She went to her home 
lodge and told her mother. This woman rummaged 
among her packages, looking into one after another. 
"Here it is," she finally announced. The young 
woman took the white powder to the wife of Wolf 
Medicine. As the good cook proceeded with her 
work, her proud husband went out to the front of his 
lodge and stood there calling: 

"All Elk warriors, come. Wolf Medicine has a 
feast of bread." 

That brought them in droves. The wife engaged 
some helpers. They fried many slices of bacon and 
they boiled a great potful of coffee. When the food 
was being eaten everybody said: "Wolf Medicine's 
wife can make good bread." The hearts of the hus- 
band and the wife were made glad by the compli- 
ments showered upon them. 

After the feast, Wolf Medicine brought a supply 
of tobacco. The assemblage was converted into a 
grand smoking party. They passed the pipe and 
chatted and told stories. After a while somebody 

112 




A CHEYENNE SWEAT LODGE 




A CHEYENNE WOMAN TANNING 



CHEYENNE WAYS OF LIFE 

said: "I feel sick. My stomach pains me." Just 
then the neighbor woman came running and scream- 
ing: 

"I gave you the wrong powder! It is the wolf 
poison!" 

The commotion aroused and brought the whole 
population of the camp. The victims were wallow- 
ing and groaning. An old man herald went among 
them calling out: "Make yourselves vomit." Some 
already had done this, others began at once to gag 
their throats with fingers poked into them. Two 
men, Old Bear and White Elk, did not do this. In- 
stead, they took doses of gunpowder in water. Both 
of these men had convulsions and were sick a long 
time, 'but they finally recovered full health. All of 
the others got relief soon after the gagging and vomit- 
ing. One of them was my father. As a test, some 
remnants of bread was given to two dogs. Both of 
the dogs went into convulsions and died. The woman 
who had provided the supposed soda was not 
punished. On the contrary, she was for a long time 
afterward so distressed in mind that people sympa- 
thized with and tried to console her. 

A certain half-Sioux-half-Cheyenne man was 
married to a Cheyenne woman and they lived with 
our tribe. He killed one of our Cheyennes, served 
his exile term of four years and returned to a small 

113 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

village of Cheyennes where were his relatives. That 
was considered right, but his next movement was con- 
sidered not right. He went to visit another Chey- 
enne village where were many relatives of the man 
he had killed. Warning was sent to him not to come 
there, that he would be killed, but he heeded not the 
notice, or he designed to show special bravery that 
might win a good standing. Two Cheyenne men ac- 
companied him to the visited camp. 

The three companions went from lodge to lodge, 
being received courteously and fed at the various stop- 
ping places. A brother of the man who had been 
killed sat in his own lodge, there meditating and say- 
ing nothing to anybody. He kept beside him a loaded 
rifle. From time to time, as the three men moved 
among the lodges he watched them from the interior 
of his tepee. People began to taunt him: 

"You are afraid." 

"No, I will kill him today." 

The Sioux-Cheyenne walked at all times between 
the two Cheyenne companions when the three went 
from any one lodge to another. But as they were 
passing across one open area the middle man stopped 
and bent himself forward to tie a loose moccasin 
string. In a moment the bang of a rifle shot rang out 
from the watcher's tepee. The half -Sioux pitched 
headfirst to the ground. His death was regarded by 

114 



CHEYENNE WAYS OF LIFE 

all as an earned infliction. The chiefs agreed: "He 
ought not to have come so soon to this place where 
are his victim's relatives. His slayer did right." 

An Ogallala Sioux man had one of our women as 
his wife. They lived with our people. The couple 
had much domestic trouble. It was said the husband 
grossly abused his wife. The matter came to a cli- 
max as our Cheyennes were camped on the Giving 
White Medal river. I was a baby or a small child, 
and my knowledge of it comes only from hearsay 
stories. But in later times I knew the people in- 
volved. 

The maltreated wife had two brothers, Dirty Moc- 
casins and Tall White Man not the present old man 
Tall White Man, but another Cheyenne dead many 
years ago. These two brothers decided to end the 
continual humiliation of their sister. They got their 
bows and arrows and went man-hunting. Each of 
them sent an arrow through the body of the offending 
Sioux and put out the lights of his life. They were 
not banished. Besides their having the natural sym- 
pathy of the people, the dead man was a Sioux, not 
a Cheyenne. Nevertheless, ever after that, Dirty 
Moccasins smoked only a deer bone pipe and Tall 
White Man used always a little stone one. For many 
years I saw him as a scrawny and feeble old man 
smoking the tiny short-stemmed stone pipe. 

115 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

The Sioux and his wife had a ten-year-old daugh- 
ter. When she grew to womanhood she married a 
Cheyenne man named Elk Creek. This couple had 
three daughters, grandchildren of the Sioux killed 
by the two brothers. One of these grandchildren 
married Round Stone, another married a Fort Keogh 
soldier named Thompson, the third is the wife of 
Willis Rowland, our present interpreter at the Lame 
Deer agency. 

I heard a story about two Sioux in a Sioux camp 
who quarreled concerning the ownership of a horse. 
One of them had possession of the animal. The other 
sat in his lodge and brooded over what he regarded 
as a wrong done to him. He planned an unusual 
mode of carrying out revenge. He went to a Chey- 
enne camp near by and inquired there for a medicine 
man. A Cheyenne led him to a certain lodge. 

"I have important business," the Sioux announced. 
"Come out where nobody can hear us." 

The three went out of the camp, to a hilltop. The 
young Cheyenne served as negotiator between the 
Sioux and the medicine man. 

"I want him to kill a Sioux," the visitor proposed. 

There was some exchange of talk about the com- 
pensation to the medicine man. Finally, an agree- 
ment was reached. The medicine man received a 

116 



CHEYENNE WAYS OF LIFE 

blanket, some moccasins and clothing, some food and 
a keen-bladed and sharp-pointed sheathknife. A day 
was consumed in settling the conditions. While this 
was going on, the Sioux camp moved away and was 
set up elsewhere. The angry Sioux and the medicine 
man followed them. The lodge of the enemy was 
pointed out. The medicine man drew the figure of a 
man upon the outside wall of the lodge. At the right 
place he made a special picture of the heart. Then 
he told the angry Sioux: 

"Take this knife. At dawn tomorrow morning 
you must stab the heart picture I have drawn. Then 
bring to me the knife." 

The commanded procedure was carried out. The 
wielder of the weapon was astonished when blood 
flowed freely from the stabbed picture heart. He 
ran away and told the medicine man, told him of the 
blood and returned to him the knife. 

"Good. He will die tonight, 55 came the assuring 
declaration. 

As the medicine man went back to the Cheyennes 
he congratulated himself on the clever trick he had 
played upon his confiding employer. "Good knife, 
good blanket, good clothing, all for me," he 
chuckled. But: That same night the enemy Sioux 
man actually became ill. He vomited blood, and be- 

117 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

fore morning he was dead. I do not like that kind 
of medicine actions. Such use of the powers makes 
bad Indians. 

The warrior days of a Cheyenne man began at the 
age of about sixteen or seventeen, or sometimes a 
little earlier for such activities as were not very diffi- 
cult or risky. They ended somewhere between thirty- 
five and forty, according to particular circumstances. 
The regular rule was, every man was classed as a 
warrior and expected to serve as such until he had a 
son old enough to take his place. Then the father re- 
tired from aggressive fighting and the son took up 
the weapons for that family. If a man came into 
early middle age without any son, he adopted one. 
If he had more than one son, he might allow the addi- 
tional one or more to be adopted by another man who 
had none. By following this system, all of the offen- 
sive fighting was done by young men, mostly the un- 
married young men. The fathers and the older men 
ordinarily stayed in the background, to help or to 
shield the women and children. Or, if it was prac- 
ticable, the fathers and old men and women followed 
out the young warriors and stayed at a safe distance 
behind, there to sing cheering songs and to call out 
advice and encouragement. If a warrior's father or 
some other old person put himself unnecessarily for- 
ward in a battle he was likely to be criticised for his 

118 



CHEYENNE WAYS OF LIFE 

needless risk, and also the young warriors felt ag- 
grieved at his taking from them whatever of honors 
might be gained in the combat. In general, the 
young men were supposed to be more valuable as 
fighters and less valuable as wise counselors, while 
the older men were estimated in the opposite way. 
It was considered as being not right for an important 
older man to place himself as a target for the mis- 
siles of the enemy, if he could avoid such exposure. 
Even in a surprise attack upon us, it was expected 
the seniors should run away, if they could get away, 
while the more lively and supposedly more ambi- 
tious young men met the attack. 

Our war chiefs that is, the three leading chiefs 
and the twenty-seven little chiefs of our three war- 
rior societies were more useful as instructors in 
quiet assemblage than as directors of operation in 
times of battle. There were frequent gatherings of 
the warrior societies, each in its own gathering, 
where the chiefs exchanged ideas about methods of 
combat and about daily care of the personal self, 
and where the listening young warriors learned their 
lessons. If some aggressive war was contemplated, 
these chiefs agreed upon the plans. But when any 
battle actually began it was a case of every man for 
himself. There were then no ordered groupings, 
no systematic movements in concert, no compulsory 

119 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

goings and comings. Warriors of all societies min- 
gled indiscriminately, every individual went where 
and when he chose, every one looked out for him- 
self only, or each helped a friend if such help were 
needed and if the able one's personal inclination 
just then was toward friendly helpfulness. The war- 
rior chiefs called out advice, perhaps a reminder of 
some rule of action theretofore discussed in the 
gatherings, or perhaps some special suggestion that 
exactly fitted the immediate situation, such as, 
"Yonder is one whose horse is down; go right in 
after him." Ordinarily the advice of the chiefs was 
heeded. But the obedience was a voluntary one. 
In battle, the chiefs had not authority to issue com- 
mands that must be obeyed. 

Special war parties made up of members of some 
certain warrior society often went out seeking con- 
flict with the enemy. The warrior societies com- 
peted with each other for effectiveness in this kind of 
activity, as well as in all other activities regarded as 
commendable. At times, the members of some cer- 
tain warrior society would be selected by the tribal 
chiefs to do all of the tribal fighting in some case 
where the opposition was looked upon as being not 
great enough to make necessary the use of the entire 
tribal military forces. If this appointed segment of 
our fighters did well they were acclaimed. If they 

120 



CHEYENNE WAYS OF LIFE 

did not do well, especially if other warriors had to go 
to their assistance, the original combatants were 
discredited. Ordinarily, whatever warrior society 
was on duty as camp policemen had also the duty as 
special camp defenders. It was their business to be 
the first ones out to meet any attack upon the camp. 
Members of the other societies added their help if 
necessary, refrained from doing so if they were not 
needed. If the enemy onset was sufficient to render 
needful the resistance of all of the warriors in the 
camp, all of them were called by the heralds of the 
tribal chiefs. In cases of extreme danger, even the 
old men and some of the women might use whatever 
weapons they could seize and wield. 

The Sioux tribes had ways closely resembling those 
of the Cheyeimes. We traveled and visited much 
with them, particularly with the Ogallalas, some- 
times with the Minneconjoux. The Sioux tribal gov- 
ernments were almost the same as ours. Each of 
them had numerous tribal chiefs, each had various 
warrior societies and chiefs of them. Their warriors 
dressed for death in battle, all of their people dressed 
for death in time of peace, according to the same cus- 
toms among us. Their warrior training by precept 
and by discipline was similar to our system. They 
fought their battles as a band of individuals, the same 
as we fought ours, and the same as was the way of 

121 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

all Indians I ever knew. They had war dances and 
medicine dances differing only a little from our cere- 
monies of this kind. So when white people learn the 
ways of the Cheyennes they have learned also a great 
deal of the ways of the Sioux and of other Indians in 
this part of the world. 



122 



IV 

Worshiping The Great Medicine. 

I made medicine the first time when I was seven- 
teen years old (1875). It was during the month of 
May, I believe, although we did not divide the years 
into months or weeks as the white people later taught 
us to divide them. Our family was in a camp of four- 
teen or fifteen lodges of Cheyennes in the hills at the 
head of Otter creek, a stream flowing into the eastern 
side of Tongue river. The main camp of the tribe was 
on Powder river, east of our location. 

To "make medicine" is to engage upon a special 
period of fasting, thanksgiving, prayer and self de- 
nial, even of self torture. The procedure is entirely 
a devotional exercise. The purpose is to subdue the 
passions of the flesh and to improve the spiritual self. 
The bodily abstinence and the mental concentration 
upon lofty thoughts cleanses both the body and the 
soul and puts them into or keeps them in health. 
Then the individual mind gets closer toward con- 
formity with the mind of the Great Medicine above us. 

I said to my father: "All during my boyhood and 
youth the Great Medicine has been good to me. I 
have fond parents and kind brothers and sisters. I 

123 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

have had plenty of food and have had no bad sick- 
ness. No bullet nor arrow has hit me. No serious 
injury of any kind has fallen upon me. I ought to do 
something to show my gratitude for all of these 
favors." 

"Yes, my son, you owe a debt for them," my father 
agreed. 

Red Haired Bear, a good medicine man or spiritual 
adviser, was in our small camp. His wife was my 
mother's sister. I went to him. 

"I want to make medicine," I told him. "I think 
I have lived in a way good enough to render me 
worthy. I want to become still better. I want to 
thank the Great Medicine and ask His continued fa- 
vor. I want to become able to kill all enemies I may 
meet and to be shielded from their assaults upon me. 
I do not want to die in any manner until I reach old 
age. I wish you would help me." 

"How," he responded encouragingly. "What 
number of days do you think you can endure?" 

"The whole four days," I replied confidently. 

"How," he glowed. "I will help you." 

He warned me it was a difficult undertaking for 
any young man. He urged me to be brave. He said 
the bravest ones always got the greatest spiritual 
benefit. I asserted myself as feeling equal to any dis- 
tress that might come to me. 

124 



WORSHIPING THE GREAT MEDICINE 

"That is good," he cheered me on. "You shall 
have the strongest of trials. You shall stay out one 
night without any shelter, the next night you may 
have a little cone tepee, the third night you may build 
for yourself a willow dome lodge." 

This proposition put a check upon my eagerness. 
I had not thought of being unprotected from bad 
weather during any part of the time. It occurred to 
my mind that a rainstorm might interfere with the 
devotions. Even with a little cone tepee over me, a 
strong wind might upset the entire programme. My 
medicine might be broken by accidents like these. I 
asked if a willow dome lodge could be used during 
the entire procedure. 

"How. It shall be as you desire/* 

He started me out to cut willow wands for making 
the medicine lodge. He told me I must get seven- 
teen of them, each a clean and strong and long piece 
of pliable green wood. I carefully gathered them, 
selecting and rejecting. I tied them into a pack bun- 
dle. Throwing the bundle upon my back and taking 
a crowbar in my hands, I carried the burden far up a 
gulch and into the timber at the hilltop. I chose a 
spot for the lodge and put down my load. With the 
crowbar I punched in the ground sixteen holes 
around a circle about eight feet in diameter. Into 
these holes I set upright sixteen of the wands. I 

125 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

then bent their tops across, pairing them and tying 
together the pairs. The skeleton dome was com- 
pleted by weaving through the coupled tops the 
seventeenth strand, this running from east to west. I 
returned then to Red Haired Bear for further instruc- 
tions. 

"Get a buffalo head," he ordered me. 

I searched the neighborhood until I found one. 
Under his directions I heaped up dirt into a low 
mound about eight feet due east from where was to 
be the eastern entrance opening of the lodge. Upon 
this mound was placed the buffalo head, it being set 
to face toward the lodge. I cleared off all grass and 
twigs to make a clean path between the buffalo head 
and the lodge opening. I gathered armfuls of sweet 
sagegrass and spread it as a carpet upon the floor of 
the enclosed circle. The two of us returned then to 
Red Haired Bear's lodge. 

The medicine man painted my whole body. Red 
clay mixed into water, in a dish, was used for most of 
the painting. Four times he took portions of the 
powdered red earth, each separate time casting the 
portion upon the water's surface and uttering low 
prayers as he stirred it into solution. After having 
put the red coloring upon the entire surface of my 
skin he got out from his medicine bag a package of 
pulverized black earth. Four different casts and 

126 



WORSHIPING THE GREAT MEDICINE 

four separate stirrings into water were made likewise 
with this coloring material. With the black paint he 
made first a circle about my face, including the fore- 
head, the chin and the cheeks. Black wristlets and 
black anklets were next formed. On the middle of 
my breast he painted a black sun. On my left 
shoulderblade he put a black moon. 

My director then offered a prayer: 

"Great Medicine Above: You see Wooden Leg. 
He wants to be a good man. Look upon him and 
favor him. Make him brave and wise and kind. 
Make him generous to his people, to all Indians, 
even to his enemies if they come peaceably and in 
need. Help him to defeat all enemies who may 
beset him, and shield him from their efforts to take 
his life. Guide him so that he may be rich in food 
and skins and horses. Help him to find a good wife. 
Give to them many children. Keep them all in good 
health and make them live a long time/* 

He prayed also to the ground spirits. As he 
prayed to the Great Medicine he looked upward, and 
as he addressed the spirits below he looked down 
toward the ground. When the prayers were ended 
we walked together to the medicine lodge I had built 
in the hilltop forest. We sat down there beside the 
slender path I had made to connect the buffalo head 
and the entrance to the lodge. He talked to me: 

127 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

'This is going to be a hard trial for you, the hard- 
est trial you ever have had. Throughout four days 
you will have neither food nor water. Your desires 
will distress you. Other distresses may be piled 
upon these. You may retreat now and postpone it 
to another time if you want to do so. What say 
you?" 

"I dread it/ 5 I confessed, "but I know it will not 
kill me. I do not want to wait. I want to go on 
right now. I shall keep my courage from failing by 
fixing my thoughts upon being a good man." 

"That is good," he cheered me. Then he added: 
"Be brave." 

The medicine man prayed again for me. He 
looked again upward and again downward, going 
through the same prayer for the below spirits as he 
had made to the Above Spirit. The praying was 
of the same kind as he had uttered just after the 
painting preparations, but he added some other so- 
licitations for my welfare. 

After this prayer had ended I crept in upon the 
sagegrass floor of the skeleton willow dome. He 
covered the frame all over with many buffalo robes 
we had brought. Not even a faint ray of light could 
get inside. He then went away to our camp. 

I now was alone. For a little while I just sat 
there in the darkness complete darkness, although 

128 



WORSHIPING THE GREAT MEDICINE 

it was about the middle of the afternoon. I was 
naked, except for the breechcloth and a buffalo robe. 
I had a supply of kinnikinick, some matches, and my 
medicine pipe that had been given to me by my 
father. I loaded and lit the pipe for a thoughtful 
smoke. The flash of the match dazzled my eyes. 
Time dragged along. I could not smoke continu- 
ously, so I just sat there and meditated, or tried to 
do so. I did not know when the sun went down 
nor when darkness came. It began to seem rather 
lonely. I grew sleepy, so I stretched myself out 
with the robe about me and drifted into a doze. But 
every little sound startled me. I sat up and had 
another smoke. Soon I had another, and then an- 
other. I slept again, this time more soundly. I 
had not the least notion as to how long I remained 
asleep. It seemed I had been there more than a day 
and night, that the medicine man had forgotten me. 
I listened intently to every slight rustle in the sur- 
rounding forest. My prayers all had been in 
thoughts, not in spoken words. I almost wished for 
some disturbing intrusion to break up the entire pro- 
ceeding. Noise of a horse's footsteps fell into my 
ears. Closer, closer, very close. 

"Hey, Wooden Leg!" It was the voice of Red 
Haired Bear. "One day has passed. It now is 



noon." 



129 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

He dismounted and opened slightly the entrance 
covering. The light blinded me for a moment. 
Gradually he opened it wider, finally throwing it 
altogether aside. He allowed me to go outside for 
a few minutes, then I had to return to the interior. 

"Let us smoke together," he invited. 

He sat just outside and I sat just inside. My smok- 
ing equipment was brought into use. He pointed the 
stem and sent a puff to each of the four principal 
directions, then to the above, to the below and to the 
buffalo head. We passed the pipe back and forth 
in many exchanges, until one loading of it was ex- 
hausted. He prayed again for me. Then he ad- 
monished me: 

"The next day will be more difficult. But, be not 
afraid. The Great Medicine sees you." 

He shut up the lodge, mounted his horse and went 
away. 

Fitful slumbers, prayers, smoking, efforts at medi- 
tation, these alternated in my quiet activities. I 
was hungry and thirsty, especially thirsty. My body 
was hot. My heart was heavy. My ears constantly 
were listening, listening, to every faint whisper of 
Nature. All of the time appeared to be night, the 
blackest of night. Suddenly there came a stamp 
stamp stamp. Then: 

"Boo-o-o-o ! Boo-o-o^o ! " 

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WORSHIPING THE GREAT MEDICINE 

A buffalo bull ! The animal snorted, stamped and 
bellowed again. It surely would charge upon my 
lodge and tear it to pieces, I thought. I did not move, 
but I prayed earnestly: "Great Medicine, shield me. 
I have tried to be a good young man. You have 
been kind to me in past times. Be kind to me now." 
I heard the threatening beast move away. It did not 
return. 

Hours, hours, hours. I did not know whether it 
was day or night. I heard a horse coming. That 
was a welcome sound. I was all attention. 

"Hey, Wooden Leg!" 

"Hey!" 

"Two days have passed," Red Haired Bear in- 
formed me. "The sun now is far toward the west 
on your third day." 

Again he opened my dark retreat, gradually let- 
ting in more and more light. Again we smoked to- 
gether. I told him of the buffalo bull. He listened 
with evident great interest. 

"That is a good sign," he comforted me. "No 
buffalo ever will harm you. You and all other Chey- 
ennes will get plenty of meat and skins from them. 
The bull was your friend, telling you all this." 

Another prayer went from the medicine man to 
the Above and to the below. After a short allow- 
ance of time for me outside, he put me again 

131 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

into the enclosure and shut tightly the small hole. 

"Be brave," were his parting words. 

"Yes," I replied. But I was not sure. 

Hot, thirsty, yet more hot and more thirsty. I 
prayed particularly for strength of body and firm- 
ness of heart to carry me through to the end of the 
trial. I loaded my pipe for a solacing smoke. But 
it was not a solace. The heat burned my already 
parching tongue. I tried to sleep. Maybe I did 
sleep. I do not know. I made attempts to meditate 
quietly. I do not know whether I actually was think- 
ing or was following dreams racing through my mind. 
All I could be sure about was that I either was 
sitting down or lying down all the time. I heard 
something that cleared my mind at once. My mother 
brought wood and stones and placed them out by the 
buffalo head. She did not speak nor make any sign 
of recognition, but I knew it was my mother. It 
seemed I could look right through the robes and 
see her there. After she had deposited her burden 
she went away. 

Oh, how lonely I was! I loaded and lit my pipe. 
No, it was not good. My mouth and throat were 
burning. Water! Water! But: "The Great Medi- 
cine sees me," I kept thinking. My thoughts whirled 
and chased each other rapidly in circles. I dreamt 
that I heard the footsteps of a horse. 

132 



WORSHIPING THE GREAT MEDICINE 

"Hey, Wooden Leg!" 

"Hey!" 

"This is the day." 

Happiness almost filled my heart. The only 
hindrance was in the thirst and the hot body. After 
I had been let out we smoked together. It was a 
torture to my tongue, but I did not complain. We 
went then to my father's lodge in the camp. My 
father called out invitations to old men friends. They 
came and sat in a circle upon the robes spread over 
the lodge's floor. I sat with them, by the side of 
my father. My mother brought a bucketful of water 
and set it off a little distance in front of me. I sup- 
pressed a strong desire to plunge my face into it, 
but I could not keep my eyes from staring at it. The 
medicine man sprinkled red powder upon the surface 
of the water, four small scatterings in four separate 
places. He passed his hands to and fro over it and 
prayed. It seemed I never in my life had heard so 
long a prayer. When it was ended he said to me: 

"Wooden Leg, you have been four days without 
water. Now you may drink four sups." 

I seized the sides of the bucket. The four sups 
were four long-drawn mouthfuls. The water rum- 
bled through my bowels. After a few minutes I was 
told, "Now you may have more, but do not take all 
you want." I drank slowly, but I drew in big mouth- 

133 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

fuls and took many of them. Not long afterward I 
was allowed to apply myself a third time at the 
bucket. 

My mother brought a potful of buffalo meat she 
had been boiling. All of the guests were given por- 
tions of it. A piece was put upon a tin plate and 
set before me. It looked good enough to grab and 
swallow immediately. But I waited for advice. My 
adviser did not long detain me. 

"Wooden Leg, you have been four days without 
meat. Take four sliced-off bites, one for each day 
of the fast." 

I selected a long chunk from the plate. I stuck 
the end of it far into my mouth, and with a sheath- 
knife I cut it off. The chewing was vigorous, and 
I soon had it swallowed. The chunk was pushed a 
second time into my mouth and its end cut off there. 
A third and a fourth mouthful were taken in the 
same manner. After a few minutes, more meat was 
allowed to me. Then still more, all I cared to eat. 
It was the best meat I ever tasted. 

The old men joined in asking me: 

"Tell us of your experience." 

I told them told them particularly of the com- 
ing of the buffalo bull. They complimented me, said 
I was brave, said the Great Medicine was my friend, 
assured me that no buffalo ever would harm me. 

134 



WORSHIPING THE GREAT MEDICINE 

Their approval and their assurances made me glad. 
My heart was like the sun coming up on a summer 
morning. 

All of these old men, some of their wives, my 
father and mother and the medicine man went with 
me to my medicine lodge. We were to have a sweat 
bath worship together. My mother carried a bucket- 
ful of water for sprinkling upon the hot stones inside 
the lodge. The medicine man -piled the stones into 
a cone heap. He leaned sticks of wood up the sides 
of this stone structure and set a fire to going among 
them. The other men stripped themselves to breech- 
cloth and crept into the lodge. When the stones had 
become well heated by the wood fire over them the 
medicine man passed them to one of the men inside. 
They were handled with forked sticks and were piled 
into a pit some of the men had made in the center 
of the lodge's earth floor. When the pit was filled 
with the hot stones the medicine man set inside the 
bucketful of water. He himself then crept in, on 
hands and knees as we all had done. One man re- 
mained outside to close the opening, to ventilate tem- 
porarily when we might require, to wait upon us in 
whatever way our needs might demand. Not any 
of the women went into the lodge. Twelve men 
were in there. 

At the left inside of the entrance sat the medicine 

135 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

man. I was next at his left side. My father was 
third, at my left. The other men were seated on 
beyond, the row extending around the circle. All 
had backs to the wall. We had smoked together 
while the stones were being heated, but the pipe now 
had been placed outside. Its bowl rested on the 
ground beside the buffalo head and its stem projected 
upward past the nose and eyes of the hallowed ob- 
ject. A good spirit influence was coming from the 
nostrils of the head straight along the clean path and 
into the lodge. No knowing and worshipful Indian 
ever crossed that path. Such act would cut off the 
steady flow of healing virtue. 

The medicine man opened the interior proceed- 
ings with another prayer for my welfare. Once more 
he pleaded with the Great Medicine to make me 
good and generous, to give me success in hunting, to 
protect me from enemies and to enable me to kill 
them. Once more he asked that I might get a good 
wife, might have many children, and that myself and 
all of my family might keep good health and live to 
advanced years. He beseeched again that I might 
gather together many horses and not lose any of them. 
I believed his prayers would be heard. My hopes 
were high. My trust in the Being Above was strong. 

Water was squirted upon the hot stones in the 
central pit. The medicine man first gave each one 

136 



WORSHIPING THE GREAT MEDICINE 

in the lodge a drink of water. He took into his own 
mouth a chew of herb. After its mastication he 
supped and squirted four successive mouthfuls of 
water. Between the acts were short prayers. Thus 
he released from the stones the vitality put into them 
by the burning wood that had got it from the sun, 
the material representative of the Great Medicine, 
The stones hissed their protests as the water com- 
pelled them to release into the air the spiritual cura- 
tive forces. Our bodies were enveloped by the steam 
wherein floated the vital energy. The vivifying and 
purifying influence soaked into our skins. Bad spirits 
were driven out of us and drowned in the water that 
dripped from us. The medicine man repeated from 
time to time the sprinkling of water upon the pro- 
testing stones. 

The soft whisperings of an eagle wing bone flute 
came into my ears. The sound seemed to come from 
the roof and from other points in the utterly dark 
interior of the lodge. After a few of the gentle blasts, 
I felt the instrument being placed in my hands. My 
father put it there. It now was mine, to keep. It 
was to be worn about my neck, suspended at the mid- 
breast by a buckskin thong, during all times of dan- 
ger. If I were threatened with imminent harm I had 
but to put it to my lips and cause it to send out its 
soothing notes. That would ward off every evil de- 

137 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

sign upon me. It was my mystic protector. It was 
my medicine. 

After an hour or more together in the devotional 
dome, all of us went to our respective lodge homes. 
There my father presented me also with a shield of 
rawhide taken from the rump of a buffalo bull. The 
hair had been removed and the piece of skin had 
been dried rapidly before a fire, to make it extremely 
tough. It was covered with antelope buckskin sewed 
in place. The cover had medicine designs drawn in 
color upon its surface. This shield would turn off 
any bullet or arrow or other missile coming toward 
me. My father made it. He delivered it into my 
left hand. 

My second medicine experience took place a month 
or so after that first one. Black White Man, a medi- 
cine man, took me through it. This time the plan 
was for but two days of self denial and worship. I 
made the dome lodge according to the same rules 
as had governed in making the first one, which was 
the regular way of making them. Black White Man 
painted me in the same way and with the same cere- 
mony used by Red Haired Bear. I had the same kind 
of harassing sensations while alone, but they covered 
only two days instead of four. The resumption of 
water and food was carried out in a manner exactly 
like had been done in the previous proceedings. The 

138 



WORSHIPING THE GREAT MEDICINE 

sweat bath devotions had a like preparatory pro- 
gramme and followed a course like that of the other 
one and of all such affairs entered upon among the 
Cheyennes. But during this second time of spiritual 
upbuilding there was one intervening incident that 
marked it as different from all others. 

During the last part of my lonely vigil I learned 
afterward it was during my second night my 
quietude was broken by the tread of horses, many 
horses. I heard men talking. Gabble-gabble-gabble. 
It was not Cheyenne talk. It was not Sioux. This 
being the case, the horsemen necessarily must be 
enemies, either whites or Indians. It seemed now 
that the bellowing buffalo bull of my previous ex- 
perience had been but a tame threat. It appeared 
I surely would be discovered or already had been 
discovered, by the gabbling strangers. It seemed 
that death threatened me. My hair raised itself and 
I could feel it standing upright. My heart thumped 
It throbbed and pounded the inner wall of my breast. 
To my senses its noise was so boisterous as to notify 
the intruders and all the rest of the world that a 
human being frozen by fright awaited the fatal blow. 
I did not move perhaps was not able to move. But 
I could think. I centered my thoughts upon whis- 
pering over and over, "The Great Medicine sees 

"Hi-ye-e-e-e!" The war-cry! 

139 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

"Bang! Bang! Bang-bang!" Rifle shots. 

The horses near me clattered away. One of them 
bawled as if wounded by a bullet The strange 
voices went out of my hearing. Other voices shouted. 
These were Cheyennes. I heard Cheyenne women 
and children crying as they ran past my retreat. But 
I could do nothing but just sit there with my buffalo 
robe over my head. The commotion gradually died 
down. My pious meditations were much disturbed 
by the alarming turmoil. I could not keep myself 
from wondering what had happened. I wondered 
if the Cheyennes had been driven from their camp 
and had left me there alone. This thought chilled 
me. But I stayed, waiting, waiting. Many hours 
later Bkck White Man came. 

"They were Crows trying to steal our horses," he 
explained. The raiders had been repulsed, but one 
of our Cheyennes had been killed. "It shows that 
the Crows never can hurt you," the medicine man 
assured me. 

For a third season of warrior discipline I went 
one morning at dawn to the top of a hill. There I 
fasted, prayed, meditated and dreamed all day. Dur- 
ing the day I saw the lodges taken down and the 
whole camp move away down the valley. But I had 
to stay. When the sun had set I started out afoot 
to follow the trail of my people. I drank water along 

140 



WORSHIPING THE GREAT MEDICINE 

the way, but I got no food until my arrival at the 
home lodge at the end of my journey of ten or twelve 
miles. 

Another disciplinary means for subduing the flesh 
was to stand upright all day, from sunrise to sunset, 
on a hill. The devotee did not move during that 
time except to keep his face turned at all times to- 
ward the sun. He might keep his eyes closed or 
shaded, but his countenance had to be presented 
ever toward the venerated token of the Great Medi- 
cine's existence. He prayed or otherwise kept his 
thoughts fixed on a high plane. This system of self 
denial was varied by the attitude taken. One might 
stand all day or sit in one position all day or lie 
down during all of the time. But the attitude as- 
sumed at the beginning must be kept to the end. 
My all-day supplications were made while sitting 
down. 

Standing upright in water from sunrise to sunset 
was one way of putting the body under the rule of 
the spirit. The water had to be up to the neck or 
the upper breast. Not any drink of it was taken. 
It was not permissible to move the body except for 
keeping the face toward the sun. The bodily torture 
incident to the full standard Great Medicine dance 
what the white people call the sun dance was 
the most severe test of hardihood, so it was looked 

141 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

upon as the highest form of self scourging. I never 
undertook this extreme step. 

Women did not make medicine by feats of endur- 
ance. Such was for men only. Sometimes two 
men would go together for the all-day hilltop fast 
or for some other similar performance. Ordinarily, 
though, only one man made up the vigil. I like best 
the solitary way. I think it is better to be alone at 
such times. At any of the occasions observable it 
was permissible for onlookers to view the act. Such 
scrutiny might aid greatly in spurring on to full 
compliance with the rules. Payment to any medi- 
cine man helper was due. This might be such as 
was agreed upon in advance often paid in advance 
or it might be in the form of subsequent free gifts 
to him. The standard fee was a horse. 

Our tribal Great Medicine dance was a ceremony 
of one, two or three days, the period depending upon 
immediate conditions. In times before mine the full 
period had been four days, but in my time three days 
was the maximum. It was not held at any regular 
time. . Once every two or three years was the usual 
custom. It would be held, though, in successive 
years if the tribe was haying misfortune or if enough 
special devotees wanted to undergo the trials. The 
summer season was the special time. The prime 
purpose was to ask the Great Medicine's favorable 

142 



WORSHIPING THE GREAT MEDICINE 

attention to the tribe as a whole, not to any particu- 
lar persons. The prayers were for good grass, new 
colts in the horse herds, plenty of berries and roots, 
many children, success in hunting game and in re- 
pelling enemies. 

The Cheyennes and the Arapahoes had their two 
Great Medicine ceremony dances together on one oc- 
casion when I was about twelve years old (1870). 
We were south of the mountains beyond the head- 
waters of Powder river. The two tribes camped as 
one, in one great camp circle, but all of the Cheyenne 
lodges were at one side of the camp and all of the 
Arapaho lodges at the opposite side. Each tribe had 
its Great Medicine lodge at its own side of the com- 
bined camp. I went back and forth looking on at 
both of them. The other people of both tribes did 
the same. I was not quite old enough during our 
free roaming days to take a part in the important 
tribal affairs. I merely looked, listened, kept quiet 
and thought about them. This double sacred dance 
of the Cheyennes and Arapahoes was for only one 
day. During that one day all of the participants and 
many other people took neither food nor water. After 
sunset they had a great feast. That was the regular 
way the participants took neither food nor water 
while the ceremonies were being carried out, one, 
two, three or four days. 

143 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

Special invocation dances were held irregularly, 
often several times during one season. One or sev- 
eral or many persons would perform the rites. At 
a buffalo dance the intent was to obtain the aid of 
the Great Medicine in our efforts at getting the meat 
and skins of these animals. Deer dances, elk dances, 
antelope dances, were engaged upon by individuals, 
by parties or by the tribe. The object was to enlist 
spiritual forces to help us in gathering meat and 
skins. Berry dances, by few or by many people, had 
a like incentive. Always the dances were in summer, 
none of them in winter. Always there was self de- 
nial in various forms, sacrifices were made in various 
ways. At times the self denial was carried to the 
point of bodily torture. That was our way of paying 
in advance for the favors asked. That was all we 
could do by way of payment. 

The spirits of animals joined themselves often to 
assist or to hinder human beings. Sometimes one 
would give its medicine to a man, at other times some 
animal would break a man's medicine, or would try 
to do so. At my father's lodge an old man, Pock- 
marked Nose, told of a certain experience that came 
to him. My father afterward told me. 

Pockmarked Nose went one time with a young 
man to hunt buffalo. They were on horseback and 
were leading pack horses to bring back the meat and 

144 



WORSHIPING THE GREAT MEDICINE 

skins. They traveled up and down hills and over the 
level plains. Finally they found a band of buffalo. 
They got themselves ready and charged into the 
band. The young man had a bow and arrows, Pock- 
marked Nose had a flintlock gun. He killed a buf- 
falo. Just afterward a shot came from somewhere 
aside and another buffalo went down. That shot 
from aside puzzled the two hunters, but they rode 
on. Each time the old man or the young man killed 
a buffalo the shot from aside brought down another 
to match it. But, who was doing this shooting? 
Was it a friend or an enemy? They could not see 
anybody. When six buffalo lay dead on the plain the 
old man applied himself at discovering the identity 
of the third hunter. Far off, on a slight elevation 
of the land, stood a dimly outlined human figure. 
Pockmarked Nose rode toward it. 

Was it the Above Spirit, the Great Medicine? Or 
was it a below spirit? Or was some powerful medi- 
cine man playing tricks? Pockmarked Nose did not 
know, and he never did find out to his satisfaction. 
The stranger had a wooden gun. He said: "Come, 
I give you this medicine gun. It never fails to kill." 
Pockmarked Nose took and kept the offered gun. 
I do not know what use he may have made of it. 

My father himself saw a marvelous example of 
the spirit powers regularly belonging to the deer 

145 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

tribe. When he was a young man he and a companion 
were hunting near the medicine water * not far from 
the present town of Sheridan, Wyoming. They sa>. 
bubbles coming up and bursting upon the water's 
surface. They went up close, to learn what was 
causing this agitation. As they peered down into the 
deep but clear lake they saw there a deer moving 
about and quietly grazing along the bottom. While 
they were watching the animal it stopped grazing 
and floated slowly up to the water's surface. My 
father killed it with an arrow. He skinned it, cut 
the meat from the bones, wrapped the skin about 
the meat and loaded the bundle upon his packhorse. 
At his home lodge he stood out and called the names 
of various friends. He invited them: 
"Come, feast with me. Good deer meat." 
But when he shouted these words the flesh and 
the skin all jumped together and formed again the 
same live deer he had killed. The animal went run- 
ning away. It ran back to the medicine water, 
plunged into it and disappeared. My father searched 
for it, but he could not see it. He told me he did not 
understand how a deer could do such things except 
it were by the help of the Great Medicine. 

Three of our medicine men invited some of us 
young men into a tepee on one certain occasion when 

Lake DeSmet. 

146 



WORSHIPING THE GREAT MEDICINE 

I was about fourteen or fifteen years old. They said, 
"We will show you how to make the winter go away 
so that the grass may grow, for the good of the young 
colts coming to our herds." Just at that time there 
was a big snowstorm making the people and the 
horses shiver. But the three medicine men went 
confidently at their ceremonies. 

They sent a young woman out to gather some cer- 
tain kind of sprigs of vegetation. It was not tobacco, 
but pretty soon the medicine men had it changed into 
tobacco. They formed a circle with us, loaded the 
pipe, and soon it was passing from one to another. 
To each of us in turn they said: "Draw in only a 
little of the smoke, but draw it in slowly and deeply. 
Hold it there a short time, then let it flow out from 
wide-open lips, not in puffs from firm lips." We did 
as they directed. While the smoking was being done 
the three old men made prayers. After a while one 
of them said: "Look outside." We looked. The 
storm had quit, the sky had cleared, the ground was 
wet but bare of snow, green grass was peeping up 
everywhere. 

Every Indian had, or tried to have, some special 
medicine or spirit power of his own, to bring him 
good fortune or to shield him from harm. He had 
some object or objects that held this helpful influ- 
ence, or he had certain ways of doing certain acts, 

147 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

or he had both of these aids. I had my special pro- 
tective possessions and my particular methods of 
using them. It was considered not prudent to reveal 
these things, and I never have done so, except in 
some features that I could not keep secret. 

A powerful spirit man during my boyhood was 
one whose name originally was Walks Above the 
Earth. He was known as a man whose mind was 
at all times on spiritual things, who gave little or no 
thought to ordinary earthly matters. His name got 
changed, though, in his later life. This came about 
because of his choice of a mule for his riding animal. 
One time when he and Little Chief were approaching 
a Sioux camp somebody remarked, in derision, 
"Here comes that crazy Cheyenne on his mule/ 5 
That fixed upon him the name Crazy Cheyenne on 
a Mule. This afterward was shortened to Crazy 
Mule. 

He had a variety of medicine powers. He put him- 
self through many trials, so the spirits helped him. 
One time, when we were in camp far up the Powder 
river, he had four Cheyennes go up close to him and 
shoot at him, each in successive turn. They sent 
four bullets directly at his body. He was standing 
with his back against a tree. After the four shots 
had been fired he stooped forward and pulled off his 
moccasins. From them he poured out the four bul- 

148 



WORSHIPING THE GREAT MEDICINE 

lets. I saw this. I was eight years old. I saw him 
do the same feat at a time when our tribal camp was 
pitched on the Rosebud valley, just below where the 
present Forsythe road forks to go to Lame Deer and 
to Ashland. At another time he showed his powers 
when the tribe were on upper Lame Deer creek. 
This was just before our warriors joined the Ogallala 
Sioux to fight the soldiers in the fort * at the south 
of us. 

Roman Nose was, I believe, the most admired of 
all warriors I ever saw. He was killed when I yet 
was a boy, but I remember him, and as I grew older 
I heard much talk of him as an example for the 
young men. The water spirits told him not to marry, 
so he lived a single and pure life. At various Great 
Medicine dances he went bravely through the bodily 
tortures as a sacrifice of self for the good of the tribe. 
White Bull, sometimes known also as Ice, was his 
usual medicine man adviser. In later years White 
Bull and others told me a great many stories illus- 
trative of the admirable qualities of Roman Nose. 

He made medicine one time when we were camped 
on Goose creek, a stream flowing into the upper 
Tongue river. The medicine water lake was not far 
away. At dawn Roman Nose stripped himself, made 
a raft of logs and went out upon the lake. He took 

*Fort Phil Kearny. 

149 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

with him his medicine pipe. He had a large buffalo 
robe for a bed and a small one for a pillow. No 
food, no water for drinking. He spent the day on 
his robe bed. He prayed, "Great Medicine, let me 
conquer all enemies," and other prayers of this kind. 
He meditated upon the Above. 

That night a storm came. Lightning flashed and 
thunder shook the earth. Waves washed -upon the 
raft and tossed it over the surface of the water. His 
friends were fearful he would be drowned. Early 
in the morning two men went to look for him. They 
saw him on the raft, floating safely. They told the 
people, "He was not harmed." 

The second day he likewise prayed and meditated 
all day. His fast was continued. When that night 
arrived another storm came. The thunder and light- 
ning were more active than they had been during 
the previous night. The waves lifted themselves 
higher. But when the calm morning dawned his 
watchers learned that nothing harmful had fallen 
upon him. The third day and night passed in the 
same manner, but the storm during the hours of 
darkness was yet more furious. "He surely will be 
killed by the water spirits tonight," the people said. 
But he was not. 

The fourth night the storm was a terrible one, the 
worst any of the Cheyennes ever had seen. They 

150 



WORSHIPING THE GREAT MEDICINE 

were fearful for themselves as well as for the young 
man on the raft. Hailstones pelted our lodges and 
scattered our pony herds. "He will be beaten to 
death/' everybody agreed. When the quiet twilight 
of morning came, two men went upon a hill to search 
over the waters. There was Roman Nose still float- 
ing on his raft. They helped him to land it and to 
put himself upon the shore. Not a hailstone had 
hit him. The water had been angry, crazy, reaching 
for his body, but not a drop of it had touched him. 
The water spirits failed to devour him. The Great 
Medicine prevented them. At the camp all of the 
old men sat themselves in a circle and listened to 
his rehearsal of the events of his great devotional 
adventure. 

At a battle with soldiers on Powder river (1865) 
Roman Nose showed the people that he had special 
protection against enemies. He rode his horse sev- 
eral times back and forth in front of the white men. 
He rode slowly, not fast. The soldiers shot at him, 
but not a bullet went into him. They either missed 
him or fell back harmless. He had a strong medicine 
warbonnet. I did not see him defy the soldiers, but 
I heard a great deal of talk about it. Our camp 
was above the forks of Powder river and Little Pow- 
der river. The battle was down below, on Powder 
river. Both the Northern and the Southern Chey- 

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A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

enne tribes were in the upper valley, camping side 
by side. Both of the Great Medicine tribal lodges 
were in the camps, the one for our sacred Buffalo 
Head, and the other for the Medicine Arrows of the 
Southern Cheyennes. 

White Bull made many medicine fasts. He told 
me about them. He said that one time when he was 
fasting and praying on a hill, not in a lodge, on the 
third day a doe antelope came near to him. She 
lay down there on the ground and gave birth to twin 
fawns. White Bull reached out and seized the doe's 
hind feet. She struggled, but he did not release 
her. She promised that if he would let her go free 
she would give to him the two fawns. But he told 
her he did not want the fawns, he wanted her medi- 
cine, her spirit powers. The doe groaned and pro- 
tested, but finally she agreed: 

"Yes, I give you my medicine." 

He got the bear medicine also in a manner like 
that When he was fasting and praying on a hill 
the bear came sniffing, sniffing, on his trail. It 
stopped suddenly as it came into his view. Both 
of them were startled and frightened. White Bull 
trusted the Great Medicine, but the bear was alto- 
gether afraid. It said, "If you will not harm me I 
will give you my medicine, and then you can speak 
fire from your mouth." It gave him then its power 

152 



WORSHIPING THE GREAT MEDICINE 

over spirits. He got also the medicine of a wild 
hog. Perhaps he had other medicines. I do not 
know. He had a good reputation for doctoring sick 
people. I have heard him "Blaa-a-a-a," like a doe 
antelope, when he was making medicine for them. 
I have heard him, lots of times, grunting like a hog or 
whoofing like a bear. I never knew how much to be- 
lieve of his stories. Lots of people said he told big 
lies. 

My father taught me some medicine practices for 
myself. He showed me where to gather the seed of 
certain grass that had power to shield me. A quan- 
tity of the seed was put into a buckskin pouch, and 
this I carried tied to my back hair. In the pouch was 
also a piece of loose buckskin. To prepare the medi- 
cine, a few seeds were pulverized between the fingers 
and the powder was allowed to fall upon the piece of 
buckskin spread out. A little saliva was mixed with 
it by the stirring of a finger. A slight spray of saliva 
then was put into the palms, after which the mixed 
seed and saliva medicine was taken into the palms and 
they were rubbed together. When they had been well 
rubbed they were passed all about my body or cloth- 
ing, near the skin or clothing but not touching. 
Bullets then would be diverted and slip aside 
from me. 

My horse was protected by the same medicine. In 

153 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

the same way the palms were passed all over the body 
of the horse, close but not touching. This would 
turn aside bullets from him. The hoofs were lifted 
and the bottom of the feet treated by the palm pass- 
ing. He then would be not easily tired, would be 
surefooted, would not step into a hole and fall down. 
The palms were passed across the front of the horse's 
nose. The medicine made him have a keen sense of 
smell and a clear eyesight. This helped him to find 
his way without difficulty during darkness or at any 
time when running. 

The face painting as it was done for me by Red 
Haired Bear at my first medicine making was adopted 
as my fixed mode of battle preparation in this regard. 
It was a black ring about my face, including lower 
forehead,, chin and cheeks in its circle. All of the 
'surface enclosed in the circle was painted yellow. I 
kept at all times right at hand a supply of charcoal 
and yellow clay paint. It did not take long for me 
to apply them when an occasion for their need might 
gome. With this preparation, with my best clothing, 
my shield, my eagle wing bone whistle, myself and 
my horse protected by the grass seed medicine, I was 
almost fearless. I was not entirely so, but almost. 
In every time of danger I tried to keep myself 
thinking: 

'The Great Medicine sees me." 

154 



Off the Reservation. 

After we had been driven from the Black Hills and 
that country was given to the white people my father 
would not stay on any reservation. He said it was 
no use trying to make farms as the white people did. 
In the first place, that was not the Indian way of 
living. All of our teachings and beliefs were that 
land was not made to be owned in separate pieces by 
persons and that the plowing up and destruction of 
vegetation placed by the Great Medicine and the 
planting of other vegetation according to the ideas 
of men was an interference with the plans of the 
Above. In the second place, it seemed that if the 
white people could take away from us the Black 
Hills after that country had been given to us and 
accepted by us as ours forever, they might take away 
from us any other lands we should occupy whenevg: 
they might want these other lands. In the third place, 
the last great treaty had allowed us to use all of the 
country between the Black Hills and the Bighorn 
river and mountains as hunting grounds so long as 
we did not resist the traveling of white people through 
it on their way to or from their lands beyond its 

155 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

borders. My father decided to act upon this agree- 
ment to us. He decided we should spend all of our 
time in the hunting region. We could do this, gain- 
ing our own living in this way, or we could be sup- 
ported by rations given to us at the agency. He chose 
to stay away from all white people. His family all 
agreed with him. So, for more than a year before 
the great battle at the Little Bighorn we were all the 
time in the hunting lands. 

Not all of the dissatisfied Indians stayed away from 
the reservations. Bands were moving to and from 
the hunting grounds at all times, even during the 
winter, but only a few remained here throughout the 
year. The Indians involved were both Sioux and 
Cheyennes, but there were many more Sioux than 
Cheyennes. A band of Uncpapas, led by Sitting Bull, 
remained entirely away from Dakota. There were at 
all times a big camp and some smaller camps of 
Ogallalas. Families or small bands of other Sioux 
came and went. The Cheyenne camps varied from 
thirty or forty lodges to two hundred or more. Dur- 
ing the winter before the soldiers came after us the 
Gheyennes and Ogallalas kept near^ach other much 
of the time. We spent the earlier part of the cold 
weather season on Otter creek. Then we moved to- 
gether over to Tongue river, setting our two camp 
circles near each other on the west side of the river 

156 



OFF THE RESERVATION 

where now id the home place of John Bigheadman, 
known also as All See Him. 

Sugar, coffee, tobacco, ammunition, everything of 
that kind, were scarce with us. We were not greatly 
distressed because of this, but we had learned to use 
and to like these additions to our old ways, so we 
were pleased when such things came to us. We liked 
to get ammunition, as that helped us to kill more 
game. But, best of all, we liked to get tobacco. We 
used the plug tobacco that most white people use 
for chewing. We shaved it off in thin layers, using 
a board to lay it upon while cutting it. It was mixed 
with willow bark. This bark we called kinnikinick. 
It was the dried inside layer. 

Red Haired Bear had some tobacco, just a little 
piece, at one time when a certain very old man came 
to visit him. The old man was feeble and shaky. 
He was a good man, so Red Haired Bear determined 
to give him a treat. The host got out his pipe. "Give 
me a knife," he said to his woman. Then, "Get me 
the tobacco board." She did as he had asked. He 
cut off only a little of the tobacco and mixed it with 
plenty of kinnikinick. He loaded his pipe and lit 
it. When he had sent puffs to the four directions, to 
the Above and to the below spirits, he handed the 
pipe to the guest. The old man drew in and let out 
one draft. He stopped a moment as if thinking in- 

157 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

tently about something. Then he drew in another 
draft. He let out a cloud through his nose. 

"Oh, tobacco!" he exclaimed in delight. 

He took deep and slow inhalations. He let them 
out slowly, by the mouth and by the nose. As Red 
Haired Bear took his turn at the pipe the old man 
grasped handfuls of the smoke, rubbed together his 
palms, sniffed them over and over, rubbed his face 
and his clothing. "Good, good," he kept saying. 
When the pipeful had been burned he had Red Haired 
Bear empty very carefully the ashes, mix some more 
kinnikinick willow bark with them and fill the pipe 
with this mixture. They had a third smoke of this 
kind. 

Four men went to the lodge of a certain medicine 
man. He told them he had some tobacco, and that 
made their hearts glad. He had a chunk of wood 
that looked like a plug of tobacco. He put this 
piece of wood upon the tobacco board and pretended 
to shave off slices from it to mix with kinnikinick. 
Even while he was shaving the stick the men were 
sniffing and saying, "Oh, good tobacco." They 
smoked four pipefuls. The ashes were saved care- 
fully. They were mixed then with other kinnikinick 
and four more pipefuls were smoked. The four men 
went away praising their host for having given them 
such fine entertainment. 

158 



OFF THE RESERVATION 

As Gheyennes came to us from the agency they 
brought coffee, sugar and tobacco. Other articles 
were brought, but these were the most desired. The 
luxuries were distributed among friends, small quan- 
tities here and there. Someone and another then 
would go to the front of his tepee, call out the names 
of special friends and invite: "I have tobacco. Come 
and smoke with me." Or: "I have coffee and sugar. 
Come and feast with me." Sioux might make such 
gifts to Cheyennes or Cheyennes might provide them 
to the Sioux. Or, members of the two sets of In- 
dians might invite each other to smoke or to eat. 
Usually, though, the givings and the invitings were 
within tribal bounds. Yet every Indian who might 
prosper in any way was expected to hold himself al- 
ways willing to share and desirous of sharing his 
prosperity with his fellows, with all friendly people, 
even with avowed enemies if such should come peace- 
ably and should be in want. A first principle of 
Indian conduct was: Be generous to all Indians. 

Last Bull, leading chief of the Fox warriors, came 
to us with his family at the last end of the winter.* 
He was the first one to disturb our peace of mind 
with the announcement: 

"Soldiers are coming to fight you." 

He said that the whites would fight all Cheyennes 

February, 1876. 

159 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

and Sioux who were off the reservations. He did 
not know from what forts the soldiers would come. 
He had not heard who would be their chiefs. But 
this did not matter. He and his family stayed with us. 
Other Cheyennes came. 

We did not believe Last Bull's report. We 
thought somebody had told him what was not true. 
The treaty allowed us to hunt here as we might wish, 
so long as we did not make war upon the whites. 
We were not making war upon them. I had not seen 
any white man for many months. We were not look- 
ing for them. We were trying to stay away from all 
white people, and we wanted them to stay away from 
us. Our old men said that the reason the white 
people wanted us to leave off the roaming and hunt- 
ing was that we should stay near them, so they could 
sell us more of their goods and their whisky. Our 
old men ever were urging the young men not to drink 
the whisky. The advice often was disregarded, but 
it appeared to be given serious consideration. Up 
to that time in my life I never had swallowed a 
drink of it. 

Lots of buffalo were feeding on the grass at the 
upper Tongue and Powder rivers, on all of their 
branches and on the other lands in this whole region. 
Lots of elk, deer and antelope could be found almost 
anywhere the hunter might go to seek them. Lots 

160 



OFF THE RESERVATION 

of colts were being born in our horse herds this 
spring. We were rich, contented, at peace with the 
whites so far as we knew. Why should soldiers come 
out to seek for us and fight us? No, the report seem- 
ingly was a mistake. 

Spotted Wolf, Medicine Wolf and Twin, three 
Cheyenne chiefs, came to us as we camped on Pow- 
der river. They advised us to go to our agency. 
"Soldiers will come to fight you," they assured us. 
We now believed this to be true. The chiefs in our 
band had a council. The next day they had another 
council. 

"No, we shall stay here," they decided. "If sol- 
diers come we shall steal their horses. Then they 
can not fight us." 

Forty lodges of Cheyennes now were in camp on 
the west side of Powder river, forty or fifty miles 
above where Little Powder river flows into it. The 
report brought by the three chiefs aroused us into 
watchful activity. Every hunting party was on the 
lookout for white soldiers or for their trails. The 
women and old people in the camp kept themselves 
ever ready for immediate flight. 

My older brother Yellow Hair and I went scouting. 
We mounted our horses at night and went up the 
Powder river valley. As we were creeping and peep- 
ing over a hill our horses got away from us. But 

161 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

we kept on afoot. We saw camp fires in a dry gulch 
on the east side of Powder river. Some other groups 
of Cheyennes were scouting in the same vicinity. A 
figure on horseback showed for a moment on a ridge. 
White Man? Cheyenne? Other Indian? Must be 
a white man, a soldier. Somebody off aside from us 
acted quickly. 

"Bang!" 

The horse and rider went at once out of sight. 
My brother and I dropped down and lay quiet a long 
time. We talked of stealing soldier horses. Our 
own were gone, and we needed mounts. We crawled 
along further until we could see a soldier walking 
to and fro along the line of their horses, between us 
and the animals. He had a rifle. As we conferred 
together about what to do, other soldiers came to 
the horses. They were getting ready to move. 
Within a few minutes the entire body of them were 
gone. We went then close to the abandoned camp. 
We began to poke up the smoldering fires. Sud- 
denly: 

"Bang!" The bullet whistled past us. 

We ran. Other shots were fired at us. We hur- 
ried into a narrow gulch or canyon. As we dodged 
from hiding place to hiding place up the gulch we 
could see soldiers on horseback following along the 
high sides. They were shooting down toward us. 

162 



OFF THE RESERVATION 

But they could not see us. There was a high wind 
blowing, the weather was of the blustering kind usual 
at that time of year. We hastened on to where the 
gulch led to the high bench land. Our pursuers had 
left us before we reached this broad area. We were 
tired, very tired. We wanted to stop and rest, but 
we feared our legs might grow stiff, so we trudged 
on. At dawn we heard barking of dogs at our camp. 
That was a welcome sound. 

"Waoo-oo-oo-oo," we wolf-howled from a hilltop 
before we went into the camp. Our alarm brought 
out the people. They flocked to our lodge. A coun- 
cil of the old men was called. My brother and I were 
brought before it. Other young men who had been 
out also were at the council. "Young men, what do 
you know?" the chiefs asked us. We told them. 
We learned that the lone horseman shot during the 
night before was a Cheyenne. Another Cheyenne 
had sent the bullet. It had gone in at the wrist and 
out just below the elbow. The affair was entirely a 
case of mistaken identity. 

The council of old men decided we should keep 
away from the soldiers, not try to fight them. They 
sent out an old man herald to proclaim: 

"Soldiers have been seen. We think they are 
looking for us. Today we move camp far down 
the river." 

163 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

Our hunters and scouts kept a lookout for the 
soldiers. Our camp was moved to a point just above 
where Little Powder river flows into Powder river 
and on the west side of the larger stream. The sol- 
diers went over the hills to the headwaters of Hanging 
Woman creek. They followed this stream down to 
Tongue river. We felt safe then. Many of our 
people thought they were not seeking us at all. 

But one day some Cheyennes hunting antelope at 
the head of Otter creek, just over the hills west from 
our camp, saw the soldiers camped there. The hunt- 
ers urged their horses back to warn us. Some of the 
horses became exhausted in the run, so their riders 
had to come on afoot. A herald notified the people. 
All was excitement. The council of old men ap- 
pointed ten young men to go out that night and 
watch the movements of the soldiers. Others were 
out scouting or were awake and watching, but these 
ten had the special duty. Most of the people slept, 
feeling secure under the protection of the appointed 
outer sentinels. Early in the morning an old man 
arose and went to the top of a nearby knoll to observe 
or to pray, as old men were in the habit of doing. 
He had been there only a few moments when he 
began shouting toward the camp: 

"The soldiers are right here! The soldiers are 
right here!" 

164 



OFF THE RESERVATION 

Already the attacking white men were between 
the horse herd and the camp. The ten scouts during 
the hours of darkness and storm had missed meeting 
the soldiers. They found a trail, this trail going up 
the creek valley. They turned their horses and 
whipped them in the effort to get ahead of the in- 
vaders. But the tired horses played out. They did 
not catch up with the soldiers until these had ar- 
rived at the camp, or afterward. 

Women screamed. Children cried for their moth- 
ers. Old people tottered and hobbled away to get 
out of reach of the bullets singing among the lodges. 
Braves seized whatever weapons they had and tried 
to meet the attack. I owned a muzzle-loading rifle, 
but I had no bullets for it. I owned also a cap-and- 
ball six shooter, but I had loaned it to Star, a cousin 
who was one of the ten special scouts of the night 
before. In turn, he had let me have bow and arrows 
he had borrowed from Puffed Cheek. My armament 
then consisted of this bow and arrows belonging to 
Puffed Cheek. 

I skirted around afoot to get at our horse herd. 
I looped my lariat rope over the neck of the first 
convenient one. It belonged to Old Bear, the old 
man chief of our band. But just now it became my 
war pony. I quickly made a lariat bridle and mounted 
the recovered animal. A few other Cheyennes did 

165 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

the same as I had done. But most of them remained 
afoot. I shot arrows at the soldiers. Our people 
had not much else to shoot. Only a few had guns 
and also ammunition for them. 

All of the soldiers who first appeared had white 
horses. Another band of them who charged soon 
afterward from another direction had only bay horses. 
I started back to try to get to my home lodge. I 
wanted my shield, my other medicine objects and 
whatever else I might be able to carry away. Women 
were struggling along burdened with packs of 
precious belongings. Some were dragging or carry- 
ing their children. All were shrieking in fright. 
I came upon one woman who had a pack on her back, 
one little girl under an arm and an older girl clinging 
to her free right hand. She was crying, both of the 
girls were crying, and all three of them were almost 
exhausted. They had just dived into a thicket for a 
rest when I rode up to them. It was Last Bull's wife 
and their two daughters. 

* 4 Let me take one of the children," I proposed. 

The older girl, age about ten years, was lifted up 
behind me. A little further on I picked up also an 
eight-year-old boy who was trudging along behind a 
mother carrying on her back a baby and under her 
arms two other children. The girl behind me clasped 
her arms about my waist. I wrapped an arm about 

166 



OFF THE RESERVATION 

the boy in front of me. With my free arm and hand 
I guided my horse as best I could. The animal too 
was excited by the tumult. It shied and plunged. 
But I got the two children out of danger. Then I 
went back to help in the fight. 

Two Moons, Bear Walks on a Ridge and myself 
were together. We centered an attack upon one cer- 
tain soldier. Two Moons had a repeating rifle. As 
we stood in concealment he stood it upon end io 
front of him and passed his hands up and down the 
barrel, not touching it, while making medicine. Then 
he said: "My medicine is good; watch me kill that 
soldier." He fired, but his bullet missed. Bear 
Walks on a Ridge then fired his muzzle-loading rifle. 
His bullet hit the soldier in the back of the head. 
We rushed upon the man and beat and stabbed him 
to death. Another Cheyenne joined us to help in 
the killing. He took the soldier's rifle. I stripped 
off the blue coat and kept it. Two Moons and Bear 
Walks on a Ridge took whatever else he had and 
they wanted. 

One Cheyenne was killed by the soldiers. An- 
other had his forearm badly shattered. Braided 
Locks, who is yet living, had the skin of one cheek 
furrowed by a bullet. The Cheyennes were beaten 
away from the camp. From a distance we saw the 
destruction of our village. Our tepees were burned, 

167 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

with everything in them except what the soldiers 
may have taken. Extra flares at times showed the 
explosion of powder, and there was the occasional 
pop of a cartridge from the fires. The Cheyennes 
were rendered very poor. I had nothing left but the 
clothing I had on, with the soldier coat added. My 
eagle wing bone flute, my medicine pipe, my rifle, 
everything else of mine, were gone. 

This was in the last part of the winter.* Melted 
snow water was running everywhere. We waded 
across the Powder river and set off to the eastward. 
All of the people except some of the warriors were 
afoot. The few young men on horseback stayed be- 
hind to guard the other people as they got away. 
One old woman, a blind person, was missing. All 
others were present except the Cheyenne who had 
been killed. 

The soldiers did not follow us. That night we 
who had horses went back to see what had become 
of them. At the destroyed camp we saw one lodge 
still standing. We went to it. There was the miss- 
ing old blind woman. Her tepee and herself had 
been left entirely unharmed. We talked about this 
matter, all agreeing that the act showed the soldiers 
had good hearts. 

* March 17th, 1876. Gen. J. J. Reynolds in command of soldiers. 
Historians mistakenly mention this incident as a victory over "Craiy 
Horse's village." T. B. M. 

168 



OFF THE RESERVATION 

We found the soldier camp. We found also our 
horses they had taken. We crept toward the herd, 
out a little distance from the camp. One Cheyenne 
would whisper, "I see my horse." Another would 
say, "There is mine." Some could not see their own, 
but they took whichever ones they could get. I got 
my own favorite animal. We made some effort then 
to steal some of the horses of the white men. But 
they shot at us, so we went away with the part of our 
own herd that we could manage. When we returned 
with them and caught up with our people we let the 
women and some of the old people ride. I gave then 
to Chief Old Bear his horse I had captured when the 
soldiers first attacked us. He said, "Thank you, my 
friend," and he gave the horse to his woman while 
he kept on afoot. 

We kept going eastward and northward. We 
forded the Little Powder river and went upon the 
benches beyond. Three nights we slept out. Only 
a few had robes. There was but little food, only a 
few women having little chunks of dry meat in their 
small packs. There was hard freezing at night and 
there was mud and water by day. But nobody ap- 
peared to become ill from the exposure. Early on 
the fourth day we arrived at where we had aimed, a 
camp of Ogallala Sioux far up a creek east of Pow- 
der river. Three or four Ogallala lodges had been 

169 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

beside our Cheyenne camp when the soldiers came. 
These people traveling with us led us to their main 
camp. 

The Ogallalas received us hospitably, as we knew 
they would do. Crazy Horse was their principal 
chief. Heads of lodges all about the camp were 
calling out to us: 

"Cheyennes, come and eat here." 

They fed us to fullness and gave us temporary 
shelter and robes. At night a council was held by 
the chiefs of the two bands. At the council our 
people told about the soldier attack. It was decided 
that the Ogallalas and the Cheyennes should go to- 
gether to the Uncpapa Sioux, located northeastward 
from us. The next forenoon all of us set out in 
that direction. Horses were loaned to the Cheyennes 
by the Ogallalas, so none of us had to walk. 

Buffalo Bull Sitting Down, known to the white 
people as Sitting Bull, was the principal chief of 
the Uncpapas in that camp. There were more of 
them than of Cheyennes and Ogallalas combined. 
When we arrived there they set up at once two big 
special lodges in the center of their camp circle. Our 
men were placed in one of these lodges, our women 
in the other. In each lodge sat a circle of Cheyennes 
about the inner wall. Uncpapa women had set their 
pots to boiling when first we had been seen. Now 

170 



OFF THE RESERVATION 

they came with meat. They kept on coming, com- 
ing, with more and more meat. We were filled up, 
and we had plenty extra to keep for another day. 
An Uncpapa herald went riding about the camp and 
calling out: 

"The Cheyennes are very poor. All who have 
blankets or robes or tepees to spare should give to 
them." 

Crowds of women and girls came with gifts. A 
ten-year-old Uncpapa girl put a buffalo robe in front 
of me and left it there. It was mine now. An 
Uncpapa man gave my father a medicine pipe to re- 
place his lost one. I did not receive that kind of 
present, but I was provided with every important 
comfort. Whoever needed any kind of clothing got 
it immediately. They flooded us with gifts of every- 
thing needful. Crowds of their men and women 
were going among us to find out and to supply our 
wants. 

"Who needs a blanket?" 

"I do." 

"Take this one." 

"Who wants this tepee?" 

"Give it to me." 

"It is yours." 

They brought horses lots of horses. 

"Who wants a horse?" 

171 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

"I." 

"You may have this one." 

Qh, what good hearts they had! I never can 
forget the generosity of Sitting Bull's Uncpapa Sioux 
on that day. 

Our women's backs were burdened and our gift 
horses were loaded as we went to the nearby place 
assigned to us for the setting up of our own camp 
circle. Every household had a lodge, the same as 
had been the case at our lost camp. Some of the 
new tepees were small, but they served all necessary 
purposes until we could get buffalo skins for making 
larger ones. 

This triple camp was fifty or more miles east of 
Powder river, on east from a big and tall white stone 
which the white people call Chalk Butte. It was 
at the headwaters of a stream flowing westward into 
Powder river. The Cheyennes had been three sleeps 
on the way to the Ogallalas. One sleep there. Three 
sleeps of travel by Cheyennes and Ogallalas to the 
Uncpapa camp. Five or six sleeps the three tribes 
stayed together at this place. 

Various scouting parties went out to find out where 
were the soldiers. Eight or ten of us Cheyennes 
went to Tongue river and beyond. At Tongue river 
we stopped for a daytime rest. Our horses were 
picketed out to graze. After a while they began to 

172 



OFF THE RESERVATION 

show signs of alarm. A Cheyenne went out to look. 
He saw a lone white man afoot among the herd. 
Indian horses were afraid of white people, so they 
were snorting. The Cheyenne approached the white 
man and called out: 

"How!" 

"How," the white man responded. 

They shook hands. The Cheyenne got his own 
horse, mounted it, and asked the white man to go 
with him to the other Indians. They set off, the 
Cheyenne on horseback, the white man afoot. The 
Stranger had a six shooter in a scabbard at his belt, 
but he made no offer to use it. He appeared friendly. 
He was thin and hungry-looking. His clothing was 
very ragged. The other Cheyennes got their horses, 
and they all gathered about the newcomer. Some 
of them mounted their horses, others stood afoot 
holding them. 

"Who are you?" a Cheyenne signed. 

The white man could make signs, but not very 
well. He made us understand him, though. He said 
he had been a soldier, but he got lost from them. He 
told us he had not fought us, as he had been lost 
before that time. He said the ragged clothing he 
had on was taken from a dead Sioux, as he did not 
want to be seen with soldier clothing. One Chey- 
enne kept saying, in our language, "Let's kill him." 

173 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

But nobody agreed with him. Finally he jerked up 
his rifle and fired. The white man fell dead. Others 
then cut him and beat him, so that no one man could 
have the blame nor receive the honor. 

Robbing the body was the next step. About all 
he had was the six shooter, some cartridges for it, 
and a little package tied to his belt. It had meat 
in it. It was horse meat and had been cooked in 
an open blazing fire. We threw it away. 

This man was killed not many miles down the 
Tongue river from my present home place. The 
exact spot is on a ranch where now lives a white man 
named Wolf. The place is on Tongue river below 
the present town of Ashland, Montana. 

HISTORICAL NOTE 

A sketch of the military campaign of 1876 against the roam- 
ing Sioux and Cheyennes is interposed here for the enlighten- 
ment of such readers as may not be familiar with the frontier 
history of that period. There is nothing new in this sketch; it 
is simply a synopsis of what heretofore has been accepted and 
published. 

After the Indian troubles during and immediately following 
our civil war, in 1868 a treaty was made with the Sioux and 
Cheyenne tribes of the northern plains country. A few of the 
Sioux, mainly a band of Uncpapas led by Sitting Bull, refused 
to go into the treaty council. Various reservations in the Da- 
kotas were agreed upon as belonging exclusively to the various 
tribes of Indians involved. All lands lying westward of these 
reservations, as far as the Bighorn river and Bighorn mountains, 
in Montana, were to be hunting grounds for the Indians as long 
as wild game in abundance remained there. 

174 



OFF THE RESERVATION 

Bands of these Dakota red people were going out to the 
hunting grounds and returning again from time to time. Some 
of them elected to remain most of the time, or all of the time, 
in the Montana open country. Sitting Bull and a few others 
like him stayed entirely away from the agencies. They were 
actuated partly by resentment and partly by a sincere desire to 
avoid conflict that regularly resulted from prolonged contiguity 
of Indians and whites. 

The Cheyennes and the Ogallala Sioux were assigned to the 
Black Hills country as their reservation forever, according to 
the terms of the treaty. Soon afterward it became apparent 
that rich gold fields were hidden away somewhere in the lands 
conceded to them. In 1874, obedient to orders from Washing- 
ton, General George A. Custer led his Seventh cavalry from Fort 
Lincoln, Dakota, on an exploratory expedition into the Cheyenne* 
Ogallala country. They found ample verification of the rumors 
as to the presence of gold there. The news spread rapidly, and 
there was a rush of white men fortune-seekers into the midst of 
these Indian possessions. 

The government made a weak effort to restrain the intruders. 
But the eager migrants flooded in and burst through the flimsy 
military barriers. The vexing problem was dodged by moving 
the Indians to other lands. But not all of them went to the 
designated new reservations. Many of them, angered at what 
they deemed a wrongful ousting, took their tepees and their 
families and went to live altogether in the open hunting regions. 
Indians from other reservations did likewise. That was the 
beginning of the "Indian uprising 9 ' of 1876. 

In December, 1875, pursuant to our governmental policy, 
General Sherman, then commander-in-chief of the United States 
army, issued an important general order. He proclaimed that 
all Indians found off their reservations after the last day of 
January, 1876, would be regarded as hostiles to be fought by 
the military forces. It being evident that not many of the 
Dakota roamera in Montana would return to the reservations 
until they were forced to do so, bodies of soldiers were set in 

175 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

modem for seeking out and driving these wanderers back within 
their assigned territorial bounds. 

The active military field leaders in this campaign were Briga- 
dier-General Terry, Brigadier-General Crook, Colonel Gibbon 
and Lieutenant-Colonel Custer. Each of these four officers had 
been brevetted Major-General of Volunteers during the civil 
war, but the contracting of the army after the war set each of 
them back to a lower ranking. Terry had infantry from Fort 
Rice and Ouster's Seventh cavalry, from Fort Lincoln, Dakota. 
Crook had a force of cavalry and infantry at Fort Fetterman, 
Wyoming. Gibbon had infantry from Fort Shaw and cavalry 
from Fort Ellis, Montana. 

From their three basic points in Dakota, in Wyoming and in 
Montana the three bodies of soldiers moved toward a common 
central area between the Powder and Bighorn rivers, in Mon- 
tana, where the Indians being sought were roaming. Details of 
these military movements are too extensive for review here. The 
most thrilling phase of the campaign began when Custer and his 
Seventh cavalry set off up the Rosebud valley to follow a recent 
Indian trail. The result of this subsidiary proceeding was the 
supreme tragedy in the annals of our American frontier warfare. 

The first fight of that 1876 struggle was this attack upon the 
Cheyenne camp on Powder river, March 17th. There have been 
published many worthy books recounting the military operations 
of that year. Reliable edification on this subject may be found 
in General Godfrey's magazine articles, in Colonel Graham's 
"The Story of the Little Bighorn," in Grinnell's "The Fighting 
Cheyennes," in Brininstool's "A Trooper with Custer," in the 
diaries of Lieutenants Bradley and McClernand, and in some 
other published writings.* These tell the stirring story of where 
our soldiers went and what they did during that eventful sum- 
mer. Wooden Leg tells the equally stirring story of where the 
Indians went and what they did during that same time. 

THOMAS B. MARQUIS, 

* EDITOR'S Nora: The interested reader will find also much enlight- 
enment in Dr. Marquis' "Soldiering in the Old West, 19 to be published 
soon by The Midwest Company. 

176 



VI 

Swarming of Angered Indians 

A band of Minneconjoux Sioux arrived at the 
Uncpapa camp either just before or just after we 
got there. They had not been troubled by the sol- 
diers, but they wanted to keep out of trouble. Lame 
Deer was their principal chief. The Cheyennes were 
well acquainted with the Minneconjoux. We had 
camped and hunted with them many times. There 
were some intermarriages with them, so there were 
a few Cheyennes among them and a few of their 
people belonging to our tribe. We had mingled with 
them almost* as much as we had with the Ogallalas. 
We never had associated closely with the Uncpapas. 
They were almost strangers to us. We knew of 
them only by hearsay from the Ogallalas and the 
Minneconjoux. 

The movement to the Uncpapas was because they 
had a much larger band in the hunting grounds than 
had any of the other tribes. Some of them, with 
Sitting Bull as their leader, had been out all of the 
time for several years. At this first assembling, the 
Ogallala band was in number next to the Uncpapas. 
The Minneconjoux had not quite as many as had the 

177 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

Ogallalas. The Cheyenne band was the smallest. 
During past times, when the Cheyennes and the Ogal- 
lalas and the Burned Thighs (Brule Sioux) had 
fought the white soldiers many times in the country 
farther southward, not many of the Uncpapas had 
been with them. These people kept mostly at peace 
by staying away from all white settlements. Now 
it was becoming generally believed among Indians 
that this was the best plan. 

Sitting Bull had come into notice as the most con- 
sistent advocate of the idea of living out of all touch 
with white people. He would not go to the reserva- 
tion nor would he accept any rations or other gifts 
coming from the white man government. He rarely 
went to the trading posts. Himself and his followers 
were wealthy in food and clothing and lodges, in 
everything needful to an Indian. They did not lose 
any horses nor other property in warfare, because 
they had not any warfare. He had come now into 
admiration by all Indians as a man whose medicine 
was good that is, as a man having a kind heart and 
good judgment as to the best course of conduct. He 
was considered as being altogether brave, but peace- 
able. He was strong in religion the Indian religion. 
He made medicine many times. He prayed and 
fasted and whipped his flesh into submission to the 
'will of the Great Medicine. So, in attaching our- 

178 



SWARMING OF ANGERED INDIANS 

selves to the Uncpapas we other tribes were not moved 
by a desire to fight. They had not invited us. They 
simply welcomed us. We supposed that the com- 
bined camps would frighten off the soldiers. We 
hoped thus to be freed from their annoyance. Then 
we could separate again into the tribal bands and 
resume our quiet wandering and hunting. 

The four camps could not remain long together in 
any one location. The food game would become 
scarce there and the feed for our horses would be 
eaten away. We had to move on. A council of all 
of the tribal chiefs decided we should go northward 
to the head of the next stream flowing into the east 
side of Powder river. The next morning after the 
decision had been made, the four different bands set 
off in procession toward the appointed place. 

The Cheyennes were in the lead. The Ogallalas 
came next. Following them were the Minneconjoux. 
The Uncpapas were last. The order of movement 
was the result of an agreed plan. The Cheyennes 
and the Uncpapas had the specially danger-fill posi- 
tions. I do not know on just what grounds this was 
the arrangement, but I know that this was the inten- 
tion. The Cheyennes kept scouts out in front looking 
forward from high points. The Uncpapas had al- 
ways some of their young men staying back to observe 
if any enemies were following. The Ogallalas and 

179 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

the Minneconjoux sent guardians off to the hill points 
at the sides. 

Three sleeps, I believe, our four camp circles stood 
in this new location. The Cheyennes in advance had 
been allowed to choose first the spot for the encamp- 
ment. The Ogallalas and the Minneconjoux then 
located themselves only a little distance from us and 
from each other. The Uncpapas placed their circle 
on whatever good ground was left and on ground 
most suitable for guarding that side of the combined 
body of Indians. In the camping as well as in the 
traveling, the Cheyennes and the Uncpapas occupied 
the specially exposed positions. 

The scarcity of feed for our horses led the council 
into a decision to move on yet farther northward. 
As I remember it, we spent one sleep in temporary 
camp during this movement as well as in the first 
combined shift of base. Our horses were weak for 
lack of food, so we had to travel slowly. We stopped 
at the upper regions of the next creek tributary to 
Powder river. I believe we stayed there three sleeps. 

The Arrows All Gone Sioux (the Sans Arcs) came 
to us at this camping place. Five camp circles now 
were in close communion. The number of people 
in this added band was about the same as in the Ogal- 
lalla or the Minneconjoux organizations. In the 
case of each of the five tribes, only a part of their 

180 



SWARMING OF ANGERED INDIANS 

members were here. But in each case more were 
coming from time to time while few or none were 
going back to the reservations. I believe the num- 
ber of Cheyenne lodges now must have been increased 
to fifty. The Ogallalas, Minneconjoux and Arrows 
All Gone each had more, perhaps sixty or seventy. 
The comparative size of the Uncpapa circle indicated 
they might have had as many as a hundred and fifty 
lodges. 

After three or four sleeps the five camps moved 
again. This time we swerved to the northwestward. 
Our stopping place now was lower down on the next 
creek flowing into Powder river. New grass was 
beginning to peep up here. Our hungry horses 
searched greedily for it. The herder boys were kept 
busy at keeping them from rambling too far. The 
tribal herds were kept separate, boys or youths from 
each tribe guarding their own bands. 

The Blackfeet Sioux joined us here, I believe. I 
am not sure of the exact place where they came, but 
I can not recollect any other point where they might 
have come. I recall clearly, though, that wheft we 
got to Powder river there were six camp circles, the 
Blackfeet Sioux making up the sixth one. Theirs 
was not a very large circle, but it was a separate one. 
They camped close to the Uncpapas. 

Many extra horses were brought in by some of the 

181 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

newly arriving Indians. I think most of them were 
brought by the Blackfeet Sioux, or perhaps by the 
Arrows All Gone. But wherever they were needed 
by members of other tribes they were distributed 
out as gifts. 

A few Waist and Skirt Indians * attached them- 
selves to us. They were known also as No Clothing 
people, because their men had no clothing. They 
were extremely poor, having but little property and 
no horses. They had plenty of dogs big dogs to 
drag or to carry their tepees and other scant prop- 
erty. Their tribal name, as known to us, arose from 
their women having dresses made up in two parts. 
Other Indian women made up their dresses in one 
piece. I heard Cheyennes talk about Sitting Bull's 
father being with these people. He may have been 
there, but I do not remember having seen him. 
These Indians had small tepees, and their lodge poles 
were placed with the butt ends up. They camped 
all the time in a little group beside the Uncpapa cir- 
cle. Some Assiniboines also were mingled with the 
Uncpapas, and others of them were with the Black- 
feet Sioux. A few Burned Thigh tepees were with 
the Ogallalas and the Blackfeet Sioux. Many of the 
incoming Indians talked of having been north of Elk 

* Santee Sioux, Wahpeton group, refugees from Minnesota, dwelling 
In Canada. 

182 



SWARMING OF ANGERED INDIANS 

river.* Some of the talk I had heard was that they 
had been searching there for us. As I remember it, 
the extra horse bands were brought from the north 
side of that stream. 

Chief Lame White Man and a big band of other 
Cheyennes came to us at Powder river. They had 
made a long journey out from the White River 
agency. They had been looking for us all about the 
heads of the Powder, Tongue and Rosebud rivers. 
They doubled back and found our trail east of Pow- 
der river. They had not learned of the soldier at- 
tack upon our Cheyenne camp. 

Lame White Man did not belong to the Northern 
Cheyenne tribe, but he had been much of the time 
with us. He was a big chief or an old man chief of 
the Southern Cheyennes. He was not a chief with 
us, but he was a wise and good man. For this reason 
he had much influence among us, even as an adviser 
to our chiefs. His wife and family were with him, and 
their lodge became a part of our growing camp circle. 

From Powder river our course was directed west- 
ward. We went over the hill country. The grass 
was coming up everywhere, and our horses were 
growing stronger. I believe we camped in two or 
three places between there and the Tongue river, one 
sleep at each place. Individual hunters and small 

*Thc universal Indian name for the Yellowstone river. 

183 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

hunting parties were gathering meat for their fam- 
ilies. Even when we stopped for but one sleep at 
any place, all of the camp circles were formed and 
all of the lodges set up. It was the taking down, 
moving and setting up again every day of a little 
city. 

A big band of additional Cheyennes came to us 
on Tongue river. They were led by Dirty Moccasins, 
an old man chief. They had crossed Powder river, 
journeyed over the divide west of it to Otter creek and 
followed this stream down to Tongue river. Our 
camp was thirty or forty miles down from where 
Otter creek flows into the river. Straggling lodges 
had been reaching us, but this was the largest an- 
nexation in any one group. Our Cheyenne circle 
now was double what it had been when we first joined 
the Uncpapas. The other circles likewise were grow- 
ing in the same way. These Cheyennes brought 
extra ammunition, sugar, coffee and tobacco. 

Going on west from Tongue river, we stopped sev- 
eral days, perhaps four or five sleeps, at the upper 
part of a stream we knew as Wood creek. It is the 
first creek of importance west of Tongue river and 
flowing, I believe, into Elk river. Our horses now 
were getting much grass. As the main part of the 
herds grazed, the men were hunting. Big parties of 
Indians killed lots of buffalo in this neighborhood. 

184 



SWARMING OF ANGERED INDIANS 

There were many thousands of these animals here. 
The Cheyennes made a special effort to get a plen- 
tiful supply of robes for making larger lodges. The 
smaller ones given to our people by the Uncpapas 
had been comfortable, but larger ones were more 
comfortable. We also got skins for robes. Men 
and women all were busy, the men at hunting and 
the women at tanning the skins. 

Councils of the chiefs of the six tribes assembled 
together were held at each place of camping. They 
talked of whatever might be of general interest. Par- 
ticularly, a council settled where we should go next, 
at each move. We had not set out to go into any 
special region. The moves depended upon reports 
of hunting parties or scouts. They learned and re- 
ported where was most of such game as we wert 
seeking. 

Many young men were anxious to go for fighting 
the soldiers. But the chiefs and old men all urged 
us to keep away from the white men. They said 
that fighting wasted energy that ought to be applied 
in looking only for food and clothing, trying only 
to feed and make comfortable ourselves and our fam- 
ilies. Our combination of camps was simply for 
defense. We were within our treaty rights as hunt- 
ers. We must keep ourselves so. 

From Wood creek we went yet westward to the 

185 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

upper part of what we called Sioux creek. Here we 
stayed but one sleep and followed the same direction 
the next day. All of the people were on horses or 
on lodge-pole travois dragged by horses. All of the 
personal or family belongings were in travois baskets 
or on the backs of special pack horses. We had not 
any wagons. Such vehicles could not have been used 
in most of the country that Indians inhabited then. 

We arrived at the Rosebud river or large creek 
about the middle of May, I believe. I did not know 
then anything about a calendar, but judging from 
my recollection of the condition of the grass and the 
tree.s, about the weather and other natural conditions, 
that must have been about the time.* Many times 
during the later years of peace I have been up and 
down that valley, on my way to and fro between the 
reservation and the town of Forsythe, so I with other 
Cheyennes have kept exactly in mind all of the old 
camping places along this stream. 

The first Rosebud camping place of the six great 
circles of Indians was about seven or eight miles up 
from Elk river. The Uncpapa circle at that time 
was partly on the land where now is a ranch house 

* Thomas H. Leforge and his Crow scouts learned that the hostile 
Indians arrived on the Rosebud about May 19th, 1876. They observed 
a great camp there on May 26th. A few days later this camp was 
gone. Lieutenant Bradley's diary records these facts. Bradley, Le- 
forge and the Crow scouts were of the Gibbon forces, located then on 
the north side of the Yellowstone river. T. B. M. 

186 



SWARMING OF ANGERED INDIANS 

occupied by white people. The place now is known 
as the James Kennedy place, as a white man having 
that name lived there during many years. The 
Uncpapa circle extended from the present location 
of this house out across the present highway road 
and upon the bench eastward. The Cheyennes were 
camped about a mile and a half up the valley from 
Sitting Bull's Uncpapas. Our location included a 
line of trees such as yet are there extending from 
the creek across the road east of it. An old white 
man named Eugene Noyes was living there a few 
years ago, in a house just off a short distance south- 
west from that old Cheyenne camp site. The other 
four circles were at four different places between the 
Uncpapas and the Cheyennes. All of them were on 
the east side of the creek. 

Charcoal Bear, chief jnedicine man of the North- 
ern Cheyennes, came to us at this first Rosebud camp. 
Lots of our people were with him. He brought the 
tribal medicine lodge and our sacred Buffalo Head 
and all other of our tribal medicine objects. The 
lodge was set up in the midst of our camp circle. It 
put good thoughts and good feeling into the hearts 
of all Cheyennes. 

I have heard in later yaars that soldiers from north 
of Elk river came across and saw our camp here. But 
I never knew of any soldiers having been seen by 

1ST 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT OUSTER 

any of the Indians in this region. We did lots of 
buffalo hunting all across from Tongue river and 
continued to kill many of them on the hills west 
of the Rosebud. I did not hear any talk of the buf- 
falo or other game showing signs of having been 
alarmed by any other people. Six or seven sleeps, 
I believe, we .stayed here. Then we moved up the 
valley about twelve miles. 

At this second Rosebud camp the Uncpapa circle 
was on land just across the present highway road 
westward from and almost in front of a school house 
now standing east of the road. A mile and a half 
or more on up the valley was the Cheyenne circle. 
Between them, all on the east side of the creek, were 
the other four tribal circles. On this Cheyenne camp- 
ing ground I had been in a camp of our people ten 
years before this, when I was a boy. Here Crazy 
Mule had made medicine and had done some won- 
derful acts. Here also at that past time a Cheyenne 
woman had gone out eastward up a wooded gulch 
and had hanged herself. 

While we now were at this second Rosebud com- 
bined camp a report was brought in that Crows had 
been seen in our vicinity. A herald rode about our 
camp circle making the announcement. It was 
agreed our Crazy Dog warriors should go out to find 
them. The Crazy Dogs built a bonfire and had a 

188 



SWARMING OF ANGERED INDIANS 

preparatory dance. All of them stripped naked and 
painted their bodies. All of them danced barefooted. 
It was considered wonderful that they could do this 
without getting cactus thorns into their feet. As 
the dance was going on it began to become known 
that the report of Crows was a mistake, that nobody 
had seen them. The war dance was ended and the 
bonfire died down. It may have been that Crows 
actually had been seen, as I have learned in later 
times that some of them were scouting as helpers for 
soldiers north of Elk river. 

After one sleep at the second Rosebud camp we 
traveled on up the valley another twelve or fifteen 
miles. This time the Uncpapas occupied land now 
on both sides of the highway road and to the west 
and south of a painted peak the white people now 
call Teat butte. The other camps were scattered 
irregularly on up the valley, all yet on the east side 
of the creek. It was about a mile and a half from 
the lower or last Uncpapa site to the upper or ad- 
vanced Cheyenne site. Only one sleep here. The 
next forenoon the Cheyennes headed again a pro- 
cession up the Rosebud valley. 

The fourth Rosebud camp was at and above the 
place where now the main highway from Forsythe 
forks to go toward Lame Deer and toward Ashland. 
The lower or northern end of the group, the site of 

189 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

Sitting Bull's people, was on the benchland by the 
present roadside east and northeast from the forks. 
Four camp circles were, as usual, somewhere between 
them and the Cheyennes in front and the Uncpiapas 
at the rear. One of the Sioux camps was on the west 
side of the creek, the first time any of the circles 
had been set up on that side. The Cheyennes were 
about a mile east of where a roadside trading store 
in late years has been managed by a white man named 
Parkins. We were at the mouth of a stream flowing 
into the Rosebud and known now as Greenleaf creek. 
Our circle was only about a mile southward from the 
Uncpapas. The others were in an irregular curve be- 
tween us. All of the Indians had been using the dirty 
yellow water of Rosebud creek, but now the Chey- 
ennes had better water from Greenleaf creek. While 
we were here, some nore Cheyennes arrived from 
the reservation. They told us: 

"Lots of soldiers are being sent to fight the In- 
dians." 

Three sleeps I remained with our people at this 
camp. Great bands of Sioux went buffalo hunting 
among the hills and small mountains west of the 
Rosebud. I went hunting also, but I did not go 
there. Eleven Cheyennes, including myself, got our 
pack horses and set out over the low pass to Tongue 
river. We were on the lookout for soldiers or signs 

190 



SWARMING OF ANGERED INDIANS 

of them, but we did not want to fight them. We had 
our war bags, of course, but Indians did not take pack 
horses when going out to fight. 

Two or three days after we had left our people 
they moved on up the Rosebud. This time the camp 
circles extended from just above the present Toohey 
ranch to a point about a mile and a half up the valley 
from that place. As usual, the Uncpapas were at 
the last end while the Cheyennes were at the first 
or upper end. The Uncpapas were on the east side 
of the creek, just west of the present main highway. 
The Cheyennes at the upper end of the group were 
on the west side of the creek, on a bench, a mile or 
so across west from the road. I was not there at the 
time, but this place is only ten or twelve miles north 
of our present reservation, so I have learned all about 
it from other Cheyennes as we have traveled up and 
down the road now there. 

At this camp the Uncpapas had a Great Medicine 
dance. No other Indians took part in it, but great 
throngs of people from the other camp circles as- 
sembled to look on. This Great Medicine dance, or 
sun dance, as the white people call it, was held about 
a quarter of a mile west of the present highway that 
extends along the valley. The medicine lodge was 
pitched just north from the Uncpapa camp circle. 
Its exact site was on a flat bottom by the creek about 

191 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

a quarter of a mile south by southwest from the pres- 
ent Toohey ranch house. By the present roadside, 
just below the Toohey ranch house, is a signboard 
that tells people, "Custer camped here June 23, 
1876." The place where Sitting Bull's people had 
their Great Medicine dance is only half a mile south- 
west from this roadside signboard. 

A few miles up the valley from this camp site are 
the deer medicine rocks. They are three or four 
miles below the present reservation northern gate. 
They may be seen about a mile west of the present 
road and off from the base of the hills. They are 
about half a mile or farther southwest from the big 
ranch house of a white man named Bailey. In the 
old times, both Cheyennes and Sioux had reverence 
for these separated cliff towers. As hunters were 
about to go for deer or antelope, they assembled on 
horseback and grouped around the deer medicine 
rocks. There they looked up to the tops and made 
prayers for success in the oncoming hunt. It is prob- 
able that the Indians at that camping time paid the 
usual respect to this old-time place of worship. But 
I do not know. I was not there. I then was travel- 
ing up the Tongue river valley, with ten other Chey- 
enne buffalo hunters. 



192 



VII 

Soldiers from the Southward. 

Our party of eleven buffalo hunters went over the 
same low pass that is traversed by the road now 
going from the Rosebud to Tongue river and Ashland. 
We did not find any big herd of buffalo. We had 
killed only four by the time we arrived at Hanging 
Woman creek. We decided then to go on over to 
Powder river. We followed Powder river almost up 
to the mouth of Lodgepole creek. On the way we 
came across a dead Indian on a burial scaffold. The 
body had been stripped of all wrappings and of cloth- 
ing. We wondered if this had been a Sioux, a Crow 
or a Shoshone. We wondered also who had robbed 
the body. 

One of our men named Lame Sioux went out to 
a hill for a look over the country. Pretty soon he 
began to signal. He had seen a camp of soldiers. 
All of us got out to look. Yes, this was a soldier 
camp. We dropped back into hiding. Ourselves and 
our horses all were put into concealment until dark- 
ness came. Then we dressed ourselves, painted our- 
selves and went on a night scout for a closer view. 
We saw the camp fires burning. We worked our way 

193 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

carefully toward them. It was after the middle of 
the night when we arrived at a point where we could 
see well the entire scene. But all of the soldiers then 
were gone. 

We slept then until morning came. When we went 
to the abandoned camp-site the first thing to arouse 
our special interest was a beef carcass having yet on 
the bones many fragments of meat. The next in- 
teresting object was a box of hard crackers. It had 
been raining, and they were wet, but this made them 
all the better. We ate what we wanted of them. 
We cooked pieces of the beef on the fire coals. We 
enjoyed a fine breakfast. Then we set out on the 
trail of the soldiers. 

The trail led us northwestward over the divide and 
down Crow creek. Near where Crow creek empties 
into Tongue river we saw the soldier camp.* The 
time was late in the afternoon. We retreated and 
skirted around up the river. At dusk we crossed it 
to the west side. The water was running high. We 
stripped and tied our clothing in bundles about our 
necks. We sat upon our riding horses and led our 
pack horses as they swam through the lively current. 
We hid ourselves among the trees on that side of the 
valley and slept until ^morning. 

* Prairie Dog creek? Finerty writes that the soldiers were camped 
there June 8th. T. B. M. 

194 



SOLDIERS FROM THE SOUTHWARD 

From a cliff the next morning we saw first a band 
of about twenty Indians riding away from the soldier 
camp. Were they Crows? Were they Shoshones? 
We exchanged guesses, but we did not know. We 
talked among ourselves about making an attack upon 
them. There was some talk of trying to steal soldier 
horses. We were anxious to do something warlike, 
to get horses or to count coups. But the general 
agreement was that it was too risky. We considered 
it most important that we return and notify our 
people on the Rosebud. We did not want to tire out 
our horses in an effort to get others or to get fighting 
honors. But we lingered to do some more looking. 
We saw soldiers walking about their camp. It had 
been flooded by the high waters. They were splash- 
ing about here and there and appeared to be getting 
ready to travel. We decided it was time for us also 
to travel. 

Six of us, including myself, started out toward the 
hills between us and the uppermost Rosebud. The 
five other Cheyennes remained behind to see where 
the soldiers might go. During the day two of these 
came on and joined us. Before night the final tKree 
were with us. "They are coming in this direction," 
the three reported. We then were on the upper small 
branches of Rosebud creek. 

We killed a buffalo there. We hurried in cutting 

195 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

from it some of the choice pieces. We quickly divided 
up the liver and ate the raw segments. Over a hastily 
built fire we scantily toasted little chunks of buffalo 
meat. As we devoured them we spoke but few words. 
Whatever speech was uttered was in jerky sputter- 
ings. Everybody was excited. Every minute or two 
somebody was jumping up to go somewhere and look 
for pursuing soldiers. After the food had been bolted 
we hastened to move on. When darkness had well 
advanced we stopped for the night. Our horses 
needed rest and food. We picketed them. We felt 
safe during the night, so we slept soundly. 

Before the sun was up we were several miles on 
down the Rosebud valley. We did not know just 
where our people were, but we knew they were some- 
where on this stream. We found them strung along 
from the location of our present Indian dance hall 
there up almost to the present home of Porcupine. 
We wolf -howled and aroused the people. Cheyennes 
flocked to learn why we had given the alarm. We 
went on into camp and reported to an old man. Some 
Sioux were there, and they carried the news to their 
people. Soon all of the camp circles were in a fever 
of excitement. Heralds in all of them were riding 
about and shouting: 

"Soldiers have been seen. They are coming in this 
direction. Indians are with them/ 5 

196 



SOLDIERS FROM THE SOUTHWARD 

Councils were called. Lots of young men wanted 
to go out and fight the soldiers, but the chiefs would 
not allow this. Our chiefs appointed Little Hawk, 
Crooked Nose and two or three others to go scouting 
and find out about the further movements of the 
white men. Maybe some Sioux scouts also were sent 
out. I do not know, but I think they depended upon 
the Cheyennes to do the work. 

The Indians all moved camp, going on up the 
valley about ten miles. Here the Cheyennes chose 
for their location a spot on the east side of the Rose- 
bud, just across from the present Davis creek and on 
the land now occupied by Rising Sun. The Sioux 
following them set their circles on down the creek, the 
Uncpapas being below the present Busby school. 
My recollection is we stayed here more than one 
sleep, but I am not sure. When we left this place we 
went westward up Davis creek and across the hills be- 
side it, going toward the dividing hills separating us 
from the Little Bighorn river. It was understood 
we were on our way to that valley. 

We camped that afternoon just east of the divide. 
The place is about a mile north of the present road 
there, the camps extending northward up a broad 
coulee full of plum thickets. Dry camp, no water, at 
this place. One sleep here. The next morning we 
went on over the divide and down the slopes to what 

197 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

we called Great Medicine Dance creek, but known 
now to the white people as Reno creek. We stopped 
where the main forks of the creek come together. 
Our circles were formed along the valley and on the 
bench. The Cheyennes were at the advance or west 
end, the Uncpapas at the rear or east end. From our 
camp to theirs the distance was about two miles. 
The grouped camps centered about where the 
present road crosses a bridge at the fork of the creek.* 

Little Hawk and the other scouts returned to us 
here. They reported the soldiers as being on the 
upper branches of the Rosebud. The Sioux were told 
of this report, or they may have had information from 
scouts of their own. Heralds in all six of the camps 
rode about and told the people. The news created 
an unusual stir. Women packed up all articles ex- 
cept such as were needed for immediate use. Some 
of them took down their tepees and got them ready 
for hurrying away if necessary. Additional watchers 
were put among the horse herds. Young men wanted 
to go out and meet the soldiers, to fight them. The 
chiefs of all camps met in one big council. After a 
while they sent heralds to call out: 

"Young men, leave the soldiers alone unless they 
attack us." 

Wooden Leg, Big Beaver and Limpy, each on a separate occasion, 
went with me and pointed out the exact locations of the 1876 Indian 
campings on the Rosebud and the Little Bighorn. T. B. M. 

198 



SOLDIERS FROM THE SOUTHWARD 

But as darkness came on we slipped away. Many 
bands of Cheyenne and Sioux young men, with some 
older ones, rode out up the south fork toward the 
head of Rosebud creek. Warriors came from every 
camp circle. We had our weapons, war clothing, 
paints and medicines. I had my six-shooter^ We 
traveled all night. 

We found the soldiers * about seven or eight 
o'clock in the morning, I believe. We had slept 
only a little, our horses were very tired, so we did not 
hurry our attack. But always in such cases there 
are eager or foolish ones who begin too soon. Not 
long after we arrived there was fighting on the hill- 
sides and on the little valley where was the soldier 
camp. In this early fighting, one young Cheyenne 
foolishly charged too far, and some Indians belong- 
ing to the soldiers got after him. They shot and 
crippled his horse. I and some other Cheyennes 
drove back the pursuers. I took the young man be- 
hind me on my horse, and we hurried away to our 
main body of warriors. 

Jack Red Cloud, son of the old Ogallala Chief Red 
Cloud, was wearing a warbonnet. His horse was 
killed. According to the Indian way, in such case the 

* General Crook's soldiers, June 17th, 1876. Historians have copied 
each other in repetitions that the hostiles here were "Crazy Horse and 
his Ogallalas," and that they were from the "Crazy Horse village" sap- 
posed to have been only a short distance down the Rosebud. T. B. M. 

199 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

warrior was supposed to stop and take off the bridle 
from the killed horse, to show how cool he could con- 
duct himself. But young Red Cloud forgot to do 
this. He went running as soon as his horse fell. 
Three Crows on horseback followed him, lashed him 
with their pony whips and jerked- off and kept his 
warbonnet. They did not try to kill him. They 
only teased him, telling him he was a boy and ought 
not to be wearing a warbonnet. Some of his Sioux 
friends interfered, and the Crows went away. The 
Sioux told us that young Red Cloud was crying and 
asking mercy from the Crows. He was my same age, 
eighteen years old.* 

White Wolf, a Cheyenne almost thirty years old, 
had a repeating rifle. In drawing this weapon from 
its scabbard at his left side it was accidentally dis- 
charged. The bullet broke his left thigh bone. He 
finally recovered and is yet living (1930). He still 
limps on account of that accidental wound. 

Until the sun went far toward the west there were 
charges back and forth. Our Indians fought and ran 
away, fought and ran away. The soldiers and their 
Indian scouts did the same. Sometimes we chased 
them, sometimes they chased us. One time, as I was 

*The Crow aspect of this same story was told to me by Along the 
Hillside, an old Crow man who was a scout with Crook. He was one 
of the pursuers who jerked the warbonnet from the amateur Sioux. 
T.B.M. 

200 



SOLDIERS FROM THE SOUTHWARD 

getting away from a charge, I caught up with a Chey- 
enne afoot and driving his tired horse ahead of him. 
My horse also was very tired, so I dismounted and we 
two' drove our'mounts into a brush thicket. There we 
rested a while. It appeared that all of the Cheyennes 
were in hiding just then. 

Chief Lame White Man, the old Southern Chey- 
enne, rode out into the open on horseback. He 
called to us for brave actions. Our young men had 
high regard for him. The Cheyennes came out from 
hiding and went flocking to him. I and my com- 
panion joined them. It then became the turn of the 
soldiers and their Indians to get out of our way. 

The soldiers finally left the field and went back 
southward, on the trail where they had come to this 
place. Some Sioux and Cheyennes followed them a 
short distance, but not far. The soldiers lost or left 
behind some of the packs from their mules.* We got 
crackers and bacon and other food material. I found 
a good white hat and a good pair of gloves. I picked 
up a little package of something and stuffed it under 
my belt. As I went riding away, the package rubbed 
between the belt and my body. The day was hot, and 
I was sweating freely. My nostrils perceived a 
pleasant odor. I traced it to the package. I took it 

*Finerty writes that Crook had 1,000 pack mules, and that the 
Crows and Shoshones joined him on June 14th, at the Goose Creek 
camp.T. B.M. 

201 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

from my belt, sniffed at it, then fumbled at the heavy 
paper and tore off a corner. 

"Oh, coffee!" My heart was glad. I had some- 
thing good to take as a gift for my mother. 

The only naked Cheyenne in that battle was Black 
Sun. All of the rest of us had on whatever war 
clothing he owned. I do not recollect having seen 
there any Sioux who was not dressed in his best. But 
Black Sun had a special medicine painting for him- 
self. He spent a long time at getting ready. All of 
his body was colored yellow. On his head he wore 
the stuffed skin of a weasel. He wrapped a blanket 
about his loins. The soldiers and enemy Indians fired 
many shots at him without harming him. Finally 
some one of them got behind him and shot him 
through the body. He fell, not dead, but unable to 
stand up. Some of his friends rescued him. I caught 
his horse. When we were ready to go back to our 
camps we put him upon a travois and had his horse 
drag this bed for him. He died that night, at his 
home lodge. He was the only Cheyenne killed that 
day. Limpy was shot in his left side and had his 
horse killed. Other Cheyennes had slight wounds. 

One Burned Thigh Sioux was killed during the 
battle, and one Minneconjoux died after arrival at the 
camps. I do not know how many other Sioux were 
killed, but some Cheyennes said there were twenty 

202 



SOLDIERS FROM THE SOUTHWARD 

or more. I think the Uncpapas lost the most war- 
riors. I remember that one of the dead Sioux was a 
boy about fourteen years old. Black Sun was buried 
in a hillside cave. I believe that all of the Sioux dead 
were left in burial tepees on the camp-site when we 
left there. 

All camps were moved again early the next morn- 
ing after the Rosebud battle. We followed a short 
distance down Medicine Dance creek and then turned 
southward across the benches to the Little Bighorn. 
In present times, where the Busby road joins the 
graveled highway there is a bridge over the river. 
About half a mile south of this bridge, on the west 
side of the highway and on the east side of the river, 
stood the camp circle of the Uncpapas. The Chey- 
ennes were a mile or more farther up the river. The 
other four tribal camps were scattered here and there 
between the Uncpapas and the Cheyennes. There 
was not here nor at any other camping location a 
placing of the camp circles in line with one another. 
The groupings between Uncpapas and Cheyennes 
were according to the form of the land or the curves 
of the stream. The only strict rule of camp circle lo- 
cation was that none should be set up ahead of the 
Cheyennes nor behind the Uncpapas. 

Six sleeps w remained at this first camping place 
on the Little Bighorn. We had beaten the white men 

203 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

soldiers* Our scouts had followed them far enough 
to learn that they were going farther and farther 
away from us. We did not know of any other soldiers 
hunting for us. If there were any, they now would 
be afraid to come. There were feasts and dances in 
all of the camps. On the benchlands just east of 
us our horses found plenty of rich grass. Among the 
hills west of the river were great herds of buffalo. 
Every day, big hunting parties went among them. 
Men and women were at work providing for their 
families. That was why we killed these animals. 
Indians never did destroy any animal life as a mere 
pleasurable adventure. 

Six Arapaho men came to the Cheyenne camp 
while we were at this place. They said they were 
afraid of soldiers, as they had killed a white man on 
Powder river. Many Sioux and some Cheyennes sus- 
pected them as spies, but finally all of us were satisfied 
they wanted to stay with us as friends. They were 
invited into lodges of different ones of the Cheyennes. 
Some more of our own people from the reservation 
joined us here. It is likely some Sioux also arrived, 
but I am not sure about that. 

Our plans had been to go up the Little Bighorn 
valley. But our game scouts reported great herds of 
antelope west of the Bighorn river. Because of this, 
the chiefs decided we should turn and go down the 

204 



SOLDIERS FROM THE SOUTHWARD 

Little Bighorn, to its mouth. From there our hunt- 
ing parties would cross the Bighorn and get antelope 
skins and meat that we now wanted. 

These councils of chiefs of all of the tribal circles 
were held sometimes at one camp circle and some- 
times at another. In each case, heralds announced 
the meeting and told where it would be held. Each 
tribe operated its own internal government, the same 
as if it were entirely separated from the others. The 
chiefs of the different tribes met together as equals. 
There was only one who was considered as being 
above all of the others. This was Sitting Bull. He 
was recognized as the one old man chief of all the 
camps combined. 

Almost all of our Northern Cheyenne tribe were 
with us on the Little Bighorn. Only a few of our 
forty big chiefs were absent. Two of our four old 
men chiefs, Old Bear and Dirty Moccasins, were here. 
Old Bear had been off the reservation throughout all 
of the past year, while Dirty Moccasins had come to 
us on the Rosebud. The absent two old men chiefs 
were Little Wolf and Rabbit, this last one known 
sometimes as Dull Knife, or Morning Star. Our 
tribal medicine tepee was at its place in our camp 
circle, and Charcoal Bear, its keeper, was with it. I 
believe all of the thirty chiefs of the three warrior 
societies were present, except Little Wolf, leading 

205 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

chief of the Elk warriors. I do not know how many 
Cheyennes in all were in the camp.* In fact, I do 
not know how many of us there were in our tribe at 
that time. I never knew of any count having been 
made during those times. 

We crossed the Little Bighorn river to its west 
side and set off down the valley. Cheyennes ahead, 
Uncpapas behind, in the usual order of march. The 
journey that day was not a long one. After eight or 
nine miles of travel the Cheyennes stopped and began 
to form their camp circle. The tribes following us 
chose their ground, and their women began to set up 
the villages taken down that forenoon. The last 
tribe, the biggest one, the Uncpapas, placed them- 
selves behind the others. 

The Cheyenne location was about two miles north 
from the present railroad station at Garryowen, Mon- 
tana. We were near the mouth of a small creek flow- 
ing from the southwestward into the river. Across 
the river east of us and a little upstream from us was 
a broad coulee, or little valley, having now the name 
Medicine Tail coulee. 

The Uncpapas, at the southern end of the group 

* At the Northern Cheyenne fair at Lame Deer in 1927 I estimated 
the encampment at about 1,100. Wooden Leg and some other old men 
were asked to compare this camp with the one on the Little Bighorn. 
After a consultation, it was generally agreed that there must have 
been 1,600 or more Cheyennes in their camp when the Custer soldiers 
came. T.B.M. 

206 



SOLDIERS FROM THE SOUTHWARD 

and most distant from us, put their circle just north- 
east of the present Garryowen station. The other 
four circles were placed here and there between us 
and the Uncpapas. 

Our trail during all of our movements throughout 
that summer could have been followed by a blind 
person. It was from a quarter to half a mile wide 
at all places where the form of the land allowed that 
width. Indians regularly made a broad trail when 
traveling in bands using travois. People behind 
often kept in the tracks of people in front, but when 
the party of travelers was a large one there were many 
of such tracks side by side* 



207 



VIII 

On the Little Bighorn. 

Every one of the six separate camp circles had its 
open and unoccupied side toward the east. Every 
lodge in each of these camps was set up so that the 
entrance opening was at its east side. This was the 
arrangement at all of our campings in this entire 
summer of combined movement. This was the regu- 
lar Indian way of putting up a lodge or arranging a 
camp. 

Some old Cheyennes talk of seven camp circles, 
and a few of them mention eight. But there were 
only six important ones. The extra one or two were 
not of tribal bands governing themselves as such. 
These additional Indians in considerable number 
were the Burned Thighs, Assiniboines and Waist and 
Skirt people. These kept themselves mainly in their 
own separated groups, but the groups would be placed 
close to some main camp circle and considered as 
belonging to it. At this particular camping place 
the Waist and Skirt Sioux were right beside the great 
Uncpapa circle, the Burned Thighs were partly with 
the Blackfeet Sioux and partly with the Ogallalas. 
Beginning with the Cheyennes at the north side and 

208 



ON THE LITTLE BIGHORN 

following up the river, four camp circles succeeded 
each other: Cheyennes, Arrows All Gone, Minne- 
conjoux, Uncpapas. Away from the river and south- 
west of the Cheyennes and Arrows All Gone was the 
Ogallala camp. Between the Ogallalas and the Unc- 
papas, but nearer to the Uncpapas, was the Black- 
feet Sioux camp, this also back a short distance from 
the river. A small and irregular camp of Burned 
Thigh Sioux was located by the river between the 
Cheyennes and the Arrows All Gone, or just east of 
the Ogallalas. All of the camps were east of the 
present railroad and highway. 

One big lodge of Southern Cheyennes was in our 
circle. In it were eight men, six women and some 
children. Lame White Man, the Southern Cheyenne 
chief, had his own family lodge. He and his family 
had been with our northern branch of the tribe so 
long that they were looked upon as belonging to us. 
The six Arapaho men were attached to the lodge of 
Two Moons, one of the little chiefs of the Fox warrior 
society. One of his two wives was an Arapaho 
woman. There was not any white person nor any 
mixed-breed person with us. I never heard of there 
being any such person there with any of the Sioux 
tribes. 

Our tribal medicine tepee, containing our sacred 
Buffalo Head and other revered objects, was in its 

209 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

place at the western part of the open space enclosed 
by our camp circle. The medicine arrows, which be- 
long to the Southern Cheyennes, were not here. Ours 
was the only tribal medicine lodge in the whole camp. 
The Sioux tribes did not maintain this kind of institu- 
tion. They had tribal medicine pipes, but no special 
lodges for them. 

Our family dwelling had in it seven people. These 
were my father and mother, my older brother Yellow 
Hair, my older sister Crooked Nose, myself Wooden 
Leg* a younger sister and a small boy brother. All 
of us together owned nine horses. I personally 
owned two of these. Other tepees had more people 
in them, some not as many. A few unmarried young 
men had little willow dome and robe shelters. Old 
couples likewise had this sort of temporary housing. 
These would be abandoned and built anew at each 
time of moving camp. 

Three hundred lodges seems to me now as being 
about the size of our Cheyenne camp. The Black- 
feet Sioux had about the same number, or a few less. 
The Arrows All Gone had more. The Minneconjoux 
and the Ogallalas each had more than the Arrows 
All Cone. The Uncpapas had, I believe, twice as 
many as had the Cheyennes.* 

Estimating the Cheyennes at 1,600, it appears the entire camp 
numbered about 12,000. T. B. M. 

210 



ON THE LITTLE BIGHORN 

The principal chiefs of the various camp circles 
were: 

Uncpapas: Sitting Bull. He also was recognized 
as the one old man chief of the combined tribes. The 
Uncpapa medicine man chief was named Buffalo Calf 
Pipe. 

Ogallalas: Crazy Horse, old man chief. 

Minneconjoux: Lame Deer, old man chief. 

Arrows All Gone: Hump Nose, or Hump, im- 
portant chief of some kind. 

Blackf eet : I do not know name of any chief there. 
Also, I do not know what chiefs may have been with 
the small irregular bands of other Indians. 

Cheyennes: Old Bear and Dirty Moccasins, old 
men chiefs. Next to them, Crazy Head was con- 
sidered the most important tribal big chief. Lame 
White Man was regarded as the most capable warrior 
chief among us, although Last Bull and Old Man 
Coyote also were held in special high esteem. 

Our Cheyenne warrior society chiefs were these :* 

Elk warriors: Leading chief Lame White Man. 
Nine little chiefs Left-Handed Shooter, Pig, Goes 
After Other Buffalo, Plenty Bears, Wolf Medicine, 
Broken Jaw, A Crow Cut His Nose, White Hawk and 
Tall White Man. 

*List made up in various conferences wherein Wooden Leg was 
assisted by Sun Bear, White Wolf, Big Crow, Two Feathers and Big 
Beaver, all warriors at the battle. T. B. M. 

211 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

Crazy Dog warriors: Leading chief Old Man 
Coyote. Nine little chiefs Black Knife, Beaver 
Claws, Iron Shirt, Little Creek, Snow Bird, Crazy 
Mule, Strong Left Arm, Red Owl and Crow Necklace. 

Fox warriors: Leading chief Last Bull. Nine 
little chiefs Wrapped Braids, Plenty of Buffalo 
Bull Meat, Little Horse, Sits Beside His Medicine, 
Two Moons, Bears Walks on a Ridge, Mosquito, 
Rattlesnake Nose and Weasel Bear. 

The Fox warriors were on duty as camp policemen 
at this time. It was their business, while remaining 
on duty, to watch for the approach of enemies as well 
as to enforce the tribal laws. A few of the little chiefs 
of the warrior societies, and various members of the 
different ones, were not in the camp. 

Our three leading warrior chiefs were allowed to 
talk in the tribal councils, where the tribal big 
chiefs and old men adviser chiefs assembled for 
the consideration of tribal affairs. The little war- 
rior chiefs were expected to attend these councils, 
but they were not permitted to talk there. They 
were required to keep still and listen. The place 
for them to talk was in the warrior society meetings, 
where they were the instructors while the young war- 
riors had to remain quiet and listening. The Sioux 
and other tribes had this same kind of system. 

212 



ON THE LITTLE BIGHORN 

Guns were not plentiful among us. Most of our 
hunting had been with bows and arrows. Of the 
Cheyennes, Two Moons and White Wolf each had a 
repeating rifle. Some others had single-shot breech- 
loading rifles. But there was not much ammunition 
for the good guns. The muzzle-loaders usually were 
preferred, because for these we could mold the bullets 
and put in whatever powder was desired, or accord- 
ing to the quantity on hand. I believe the Sioux 
had, in proportion to their numbers, about the same 
supply of firearm material that we had. The Waist 
and Skirt people had few or no guns, were in every 
way very poor. My muzzle-loading rifle had been 
lost with my other personal effects when we had been 
driven out and had our lodges burned on Powder 
river. 

Six or eight guns, I suppose, had been taken from 
soldiers at the Rosebud fight. I recall seeing only 
two, a rifle and a revolver, among the Cheyennes. 
Both of them used cartridges. The ammunition belt 
I saw taken there had a special piece of belting swung 
in a curve from the main girdle. Around the main 
circle were loops for forty rifle cartridges. The re- 
volver cartridges were carried in twelve or fifteen 
loops on the suspended curve. On the surface of a 
revolver scabbard I saw were six other loops for its 

213 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

cartridges. I never heard of the Indians getting from 
the Rosebud soldiers any ammunition except what 
was in the belts captured. 

My cap-and-ball six shooter was my warring 
weapon. I had plenty of caps, powder and lead for it. 
I had a bullet mold to make its bullets from the lead. 
I kept the bullets and the caps in two small tin boxes. 
The powder I carried in a horn swung by a thong from 
my shoulder. For the gun I had a good scabbard. 
This was fastened to my leather belt. 

The Cheyenne horses were put out to graze on the 
valley below our camp. Horses belonging to other 
tribes were placed at other feeding areas on the valley 
and on the bench hills just west of the combined In- 
dian camps. The tribal herds were kept separate 
from each other. Boys from each tribe guarded their 
horse bands. An occasional riding horse was 
picketed near to or within each camp circle. It could 
get better feed with the herd, and probably it felt 
better satisfied there, but always there was somebody 
here or there, particularly among the policemen, who 
picketed a horse for ready use. 

I had no thought then of any fighting to be done 
in the near future. We had driven away the soldiers, 
on the upper Rosebud, seven days ago. It seemed 
likely it would be a long time before they would 
trouble us again. My mind was occupied mostly by 

214 



ON THE LITTLE BIGHORN 

such thoughts as regularly are uppermost in the minds 
of young men. I was eighteen years old, and I liked 
girls. 

That night we had a dance. It was entirely a 
social affair for young people, not a ceremonial or 
war dance. In the midst of the open area within our 
camp circle the women and girls cleared off and 
leveled a broad surface of ground. The young men 
brought a tall pole and set it up at the center of the 
dancing ground. Charcoal Bear, the medicine chief, 
brought the buffalo skin that regularly hung from 
the top of the sacred tepee. He tied it to the top end 
of our long pole before we raised it. We built a big 
bonfire. The drums and the Cheyenne dance songs 
enlivened the assemblage. It seemed that peace and 
happiness was prevailing all over the world, that no- 
where was any man planning to lift his hand against 
his fellow man. 

The same kind of amusement was going on in the 
Sioux camps. An occasional group from them came 
to our party. An occasional group of Cheyennes 
went visiting among them. I was enjoying myself in 
our own gathering. Finally, though, a young man 
friend of mine proposed: 

"Let's go and dance a while with the Sioux girls." 

Four of us went to the neighboring camp, that of 
the Arrows All Gone Sioux. Pretty soon the girls 

215 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

were asking us to dance.* The Sioux women gave us 
plenty of food. We were treated well, so we did not 
go elsewhere nor back to our own people. We stayed 
there and danced throughout the remainder of that 
night. 

At the first sign of dawn the dance ended. I 
walked wearily across to the Cheyenne camp. I did 
not go into our family lodge. Instead, I dropped 
down upon the ground behind it. I do not remember 
anything that might have happened during the two 
or three hours that followed. When I awoke I went 
into the family lodge. My mother prepared me a 
breakfast. Then she said: "You must go for a bath 
in the river." 

My brother Yellow Hair and I went together. 
Other Indians, of all ages and both sexes, were splash- 
ing in the waters of the river. The sun was high, the 
weather was hot. The cool water felt good to my 
skin. When my brother and I had dabbled there a 
few minutes we came out and sought the shelter of 
some shade trees. We sat there a little while, talk- 
ing of the good times each of us had enjoyed during 
the previous night. We sprawled out to lie down and 
talk. Before we knew it, both of us were sound 
asleep. 

*The customary Indian way is for the women to choose partners 
at the social dances. T. B. M. 

216 



IX 

The Coming of Custer. 

In my sleep I dreamed that a great crowd of people 
were making lots of noise. Something in the noise 
startled me. I found myself wide awake, sitting up 
and listening. My brother too awakened, and we 
both jumped to our feet. A great commotion was go- 
ing on among the camps. We heard shooting. We 
hurried out from the trees so we might see as well 
as hear. The shooting was somewhere at the upper 
part of the camp circles. It looked as if all of the 
Indians there were running away toward the hills to 
the westward or down toward our end of the village. 
Women were screaming and men were letting out 
war cries. Through it all we could hear old men 
calling: 

"Soldiers are here! Young men, go out and fight 
them." 

We ran to our camp and to our home lodge. Every- 
body there was excited. Women were hurriedly 
making up little packs for flight. Some were going 
off northward or across the river without any packs. 
Children were hunting for their mothers. Mothers 
were anxiously trying to find their children. I got 

217 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

my lariat and my six shooter. I hastened on down to- 
ward where had been our horse herd. I came across 
three of our herder boys. One of them was catching 
grasshoppers. The other two were cooking fish in 
the blaze of a little fire. I told them what was going 
on and asked them where were the horses. They 
jumped on their picketed ponies and dashed for the 
camp, without answering me. Just then I heard Bald 
Eagle calling out to hurry with the horses. Two other 
boys were driving them toward the camp circle. I 
was utterly winded from the running. I never was 
much for running. I could walk all day, but I could 
not run fast nor far. I walked on back to the home 
lodge. 

My father had caught my favorite horse from the 
herd brought in by the boys and Bald Eagle. I 
quickly emptied out my war bag and set myself at 
getting ready to go into battle. I jerked off my 
ordinary clothing. I jerked on a pair of new 
breeches that had been given to me by an Uncpapa 
Sioux. I had a good cloth shirt, and I put it on. 
My old moccasins were kicked off and a pair of 
beaded moccasins substituted for them. My father 
strapped a blanket upon my horse and arranged the 
rawhide lariat into a bridle. He stood holding my 
mount. 

"Hurry," he urged me. 

218 



THE COMING OF CUSTER 

I was hurrying, but I was not yet ready. I got my 
paints and my little mirror. The blue-black circle 
soon appeared around my face. The red and yellow 
colorings were applied on all of the skin inside the 
circle. I combed my hair. It properly should have 
been oiled and braided neatly, but my father again 
was saying, "Hurry," so I just looped a buckskin 
thong about it and tied it close up against the back 
of my head, to float loose from there. My bullets, 
caps and powder horn put me into full readiness. In 
a moment afterward I was on my horse and was going 
as fast as it could run toward where all of the rest 
of the young men were going. My brother already 
had gone. He got his horse before I got mine, and 
his dressing was only a long buckskin shirt fringed 
with Crow Indian hair. The hair had been taken 
from a Crow at a past battle with them. 

The air was so full of dust I could not see where 
to go. But it was not needful that I see that far. I 
kept my horse headed in the direction of movement 
by the crowd of Indians on horseback. I was led out 
around and far beyond the Uncpapa camp circle. 
Many hundreds of Indians on horseback were dash- 
ing to and fro in front of a body of soldiers. The 
soldiers were on the level valley ground and were 
shooting with rifles. Not many bullets were being 
sent back at them, but thousands of arrows were 

219 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

falling among them. I went on with a throng of 
Sioux until we got beyond and behind the white men. 
By this time, though, they had mounted their horses 
and were hiding themselves in the timber. A band of 
Indians were with the soldiers. It appeared they were 
Crows or Shoshones. Most of these Indians had fled 
back up the valley. Some were across east of the 
river and were riding away over the hills beyond. 

Our Indians crowded down toward the timber 
where were the soldiers. More and more of our 
people kept coming. Almost all of them were Sioux. 
There were only a few Cheyennes. Arrows were 
showered into the timber. Bullets whistled out to- 
ward the Sioux and Cheyennes. But we stayed far 
back while we extended our curved line farther and 
farther around the big grove of trees. Some dead 
soldiers had been left among the grass and sagebrush 
where first they had fought us. It seemed to me the 
remainder of them would not live many hours longer. 
Sioux were creeping forward to set fire to the timber. 

Suddenly the hidden soldiers came tearing out on 
horseback, from the woods. I was around on that 
side where they came out. I whirled my horse and 
lashed it into a dash to escape from them. All others 
of my companions did the same. But soon we dis- 
covered they were not following us. They were run- 
ning away from us. They were going as fast their 

220 




WOODEN LEG MAKING CUSTF.R BATTLE DRAWINGS FOR THE 

AUTHOR 



THE COMING OF CUSTER 

tired horses could carry them across an open valley 
space and toward the river. We stopped, looked a 
moment, arid then we whipped our ponies into swift 
pursuit. A great throng of Sioux also were coming 
after them. My distant position put me among the 
leaders in the chase. The soldier horses moved 
slowly, as if they were very tired. Ours were lively. 
We gained rapidly on them. 

I fired four shots with my six shooter. I do not 
know whether or not any of my bullets did harm. 
I saw a Sioux put an arrow into the back of a soldier's 
head. Another arrow went into his shoulder. He 
tumbled from his horse to the ground. Others fell 
dead either from arrows or from stabbings or jab- 
bings or from blows by the stone war clubs of the 
Sioux. Horses limped or staggered or sprawled out 
dead or dying. Our war cries and war songs were 
mingled with many jeering calls, such as: 

"You are only boys. You ought not to be fighting. 
We whipped you on the Rosebud. You should have 
brought more Crows or Shoshones with you to do your 
fighting." 

Little Bird and I were after one certain soldier. 
Little Bird was wearing a trailing warbonnet. He 
was at the right and I was at the left of the fleeing 
man. We were lashing him and his horse with our 
pony whips. It seemed not brave to shoot him. Be- 

221 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

sides, I did not want to waste my bullets. He pointed 
back his revolver, though, and sent a bullet into 
Little Bird's thigh. Immediately I whacked the white 
man fighter on his head with the heavy elk-horn 
handle of my pony whip. The blow dazed him. I 
seized the rifle strapped on his back. I wrenched it 
and dragged the looping strap over his head. As I 
was getting possession of this weapon he fell to the 
ground. I did not harm him further. I do not know 
what became of him. The jam of oncoming Indians 
swept me on. But I had now a good soldier rifle. 
Yet, I had not any cartridges for it. 

Three soldiers on horses got separated from the 
others and started away up the valley, in the direction 
from where they had come. Three Cheyennes, Sun 
Bear, Eagle Tail Feather and Little Sun,* joined 
some Sioux in pursuit of the three white men. The 
Cheyennes told afterward about the outcome of this 
pursuit. One of the soldiers turned his horse east- 
ward toward the river and escaped in the timber. 
The other two kept on southward. Of these two, one 
went off to the right, up a small gulch to the top of 
the bench. There he was caught and killed. The re- 
maining one rode on toward the mouth of Reno 
creek. As he neared that point he swerved to the 

* Little Sun, in the presence of Wooden Leg and other veteran 
Cheyennes, told me of this incident. T. B. M. 

222 



THE COMING OF CUSTER 

right. He made a circle out upon the valley and re* 
turned to the timber just across west from the mouth 
of Reno creek. Here he dismounted from his ex- 
hausted horse and got himself into the brush. The 
Sioux and Cheyennes surrounded him and killed him. 
They told that he fought bravely to the last, making 
use of his six shooter. 

A warbonnet Indian belonging with the soldiers 
was chased by Crooked Nose, a Cheyenne, and some 
Sioux. The chase was afoot, across a wet slough and 
into some timber northward from where the soldiers 
had been hidden for a few minutes. After many ex- 
changes of shots, after much dodging and shifting of 
position, the enemy Indian was killed there.* I 
was told afterward about this killing. I did not see 
it. I was following the fleeing soldiers to and across 
the river. 

Indians mobbed the soldiers floundering afoot and 
on horseback in crossing the river. I do not know 
how many of our enemies might have been killed 
there. With my captured rifle as a club I knocked 
two of them from their horses into the flood waters. 
Most of the pursuing warriors stopped at the river, 
but many kept on after the men with the blue cloth- 
ing. I remained in the pursuit and crossed the river. 

* lliis apparently was Bloody Knife, Ouster's favorite Arikara 
scout. T. B. M. 

223 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

Whirlwind, a Cheyenne, charged after a warbonnet 
Indian belonging with the whites. The enemy Indian 
bravely charged also toward Whirlwind. The two 
men fired rifles at the same moment.. Both of them 
fell dead. This was on the flat land just east of the 
river where the soldiers crossed. 

Another enemy Indian was behind a little sage- 
brush knoll and shooting at us. His shots were 
returned. I and some others went around and got 
behind him. We dismounted and crept toward him. 
As we came close up to him he fell. A bullet had 
hit him. He raised himself up, though, and swung 
his rifle around toward us. We rushed upon him. 
I crashed a blow of my rifle barrel upon his head. 
Others beat and stabbed him to death. I got also 
his gun. It was the same as the one I had taken 
from the soldier, but the Indian's gun had a longer 
barrel. A Sioux said: "You have two guns. Let 
me have one of them." I gave him the one I had 
taken from the Indian just killed. I liked better 
the shorter barreled one, so I kept it. The Sioux 
already had the Indian's ammunition belt. He did 
not give me any of the cartridges. There were only 
a few of them. One of the Sioux scalped the dead 
man. Different ones took his clothing. I took noth- 
ing except the gun I had given away. 

I returned to the west side of the river. Lots of 

224 



THE COMING OF CUSTER 

Indians were hunting around there for dead soldiers 
or for wounded ones to kill. I joined in this search. 
I got some tobacco from the pockets of one dead 
man. I got also a belt having in it a few cartridges. 
All of the weapons and clothing and all other pos- 
sessions were being taken from the bodies. The 
warriors were doing this. No old people nor women 
were there. They all had run away to the hill 
benches to the westward. I went to a dead horse, 
to see what might be found there. Leather bags 
were on them, behind the saddles. I rummaged into 
one of these bags. I found there two pasteboard 
boxes. I broke open one of them. 

"Oh, cartridges!" 

There were twenty of them in each box, forty in 
all. Thirty of them were used to fill up the vacant 
places in my belt. The remaining ten I wrapped into 
a piece of cloth and dropped them down into my own 
little kit bag. Now I need not be so careful in ex- 
pending ammunition. Now I felt very brave. I 
jumped upon my horse and went again to fight what- 
ever soldiers I might find on the east side of the river. 

The soldiers had gone up gulches and a backbone 
ridge to the top of a steep and high hill. Indians 
were all about them. Shots were going toward them 
and coming from them. A friend here told me that 
Hump Nose, a Cheyenne two years younger than I 

225 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT (JUbTJfiK 

was, had been killed on the west side of die river. 
My heart was made sad by this news, but I went on 
up the hill. I joined with others in going around 
to the left or north side of the place where were 
the soldiers. From our hilltop position I fired a few 
shots from my newly-obtained rifle. I aimed not at 
any particular ones, but only in the direction of all 
of them. I think I was too far away to do much harm 
to them. I had been there only a short time when 
somebody said to me: 

"Look! Yonder are other soldiers!" 
I saw them on distant hills down the river and 
on our same side of it. The news of them spread 
quickly among us. Indians began to ride in that di- 
rection. Some went along the hills, others went down 
to cross the river and follow the valley. I took this 
course. I guided my horse down the steep hillside 
and forded the river. Back again among the camps 
I rode on through them to our Cheyenne circle at 
the lower end of them. As I rode I could see lots 
of Indians out on the hills across on the east side 
of the river and fighting the other soldiers there. I 
do not know whether all of our warriors left the first 
soldiers or some of them stayed up there. I sup- 
pose, though, that all of them came away from there, 
as they would be afraid to stay if only a few remained. 
Not many people were in the lodges of our camp. 

226 



THE COMING OF CUSTER 

Most of the women and children and old Cheyennes 
were gone to the west side of the valley or to the 
hills at that side. A few were hurrying back and 
forth to take away packs. My father was the only 
person at our lodge. I told him of the fight up the 
valley. I told him of my having helped in the killing 
of the enemy Indian and some soldiers in the river. 
I gave to him the tobacco I had taken. I showed 
him my gun and all of the cartridges. 

"You have been brave," he cheered me. "You 
have done enough for one day. Now you should 



rest." 



"No, I want to go and fight the other soldiers," I 
said. "I can fight better now, with this gun." 

"Your horse is too tired," he argued. 

"Yes, but I want to ride the other one." 

He turned loose my tired horse and roped my 
, other one from the little herd being held inside the 
camp circle. He blanketed the new mount and ar- 
ranged the lariat bridle. He applied the medicine 
treatment for protecting my mount. As he was doing 
this I was making some improvements in my appear- 
ance, making the medicine for myself. I added my 
sheathknife to my stock of weapons. Then I looked 
a few moments at the battling Indians and soldiers 
across the river on the hills to the northeastward. 
More and more Indians were flocking from the camps 

227 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

to that direction. Some were yet coming along the 
hills from where the first soldiers had stopped. The 
soldiers now in view were spreading themselves into 
lines along a ridge. The Indians were on lower ridges 
in front of them, between them and the river, and 
were moving on around up a long coulee to get be- 
hind the white men. 

"Remember, your older brother already is out 
there in the fight," my father said to me. "I think 
there will be plenty of warriors to beat the soldiers, 
so it is not needful that I send both of my sons. 
You have not your shield nor your eagle wing bone 
flute. Stay back as far as you can and shoot from 
a long distance. Let your brother go ahead of you." 

Two other young men were near us. They had 
their horses and were otherwise ready, but they told 
me they had decided not to go. I showed them my 
captured gun and the cartridges. I told them of 
the tobacco and the clothing and other things we 
had taken from the soldiers up the valley. This 
changed their minds. They mounted their horses 
and accompanied me. 

We forded the river where all of the Indians were 
crossing it, at the broad shallows immediately in 
front of the little valley or wide coulee on the east 
side. We fell in with others, many Sioux and a few 
Cheyennes, going in our same direction. We urged 

228 



THE COMING OF CUSTER 

our horses on up the small valley. As we approached 
the place of battle each one chose his own personal 
course. All of the Indians had come out on horse- 
back. Almost all of them dismounted and crept 
along the gullies afoot after the arrival near the sol- 
diers. Still, there were hundreds of them riding here 
and there all the time, most of them merely changing 
position, but a few of them racing along back and 
forth in front of the soldiers, in daring movements 
to exhibit bravery. 

I swerved up a gulch to my left, where I saw some 
Cheyennes going ahead of me. Other Cheyennes 
were coming here from the east side of the soldiers. 
Although it was natural that tribal members should 
keep together, there was everywhere a mingling of 
the fighters from all of the tribes. The soldiers 
had come along a high ridge about two miles east 
from the Cheyenne camp. They had gone on past 
us and then swerved off the high ridge to the lower 
ridge where most of them afterward were killed. 
While they were yet on the far-out ridge a few Sioux 
and Cheyennes had exchanged shots with them at 
long distance, without anybody being hurt. Bobtail 
Horse, Roan Bear and Buffalo Calf, three Cheyennes, 
and four Sioux warriors with them, were said to have 
been the first of our Indians to cross the river and 
go to meet the soldiers. Bobtail Horse was an Elk 

229 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

warrior, Roan Bear a Fox warrior, and Buffalo Calf 
a Crazy Dog warrior. They had heen joined soon 
afterward by other Indians from the valley camps 
and from the southward hills wbere the first soldiers 
had taken refuge. 

Most of the Indians were working around the ridge 
now occupied by the soldiers. We were lying down 
in gullies and behind sagebrush hillocks. The shoot- 
ing at first was at a distance, but we kept creeping 
in closer all around the ridge. Bows and arrows were 
in use much more than guns. From the hiding-places 
of the Indians, the arrows could be shot in a high 
and long curve, to fall upon the soldiers or their 
horses. An Indian using a gun had to jump up and 
expose himself long enough to shoot. The arrows 
falling upon the horses stuck in their backs and 
caused them to go plunging here and there, knocking 
down the soldiers. The ponies of our warriors who 
were creeping along the gulches had been left in 
gulches farther back. Some of them were let loose, 
dragging their ropes, but most of them were tied to 
sagebrush. Only the old men and the boys stayed 
all the time on their ponies, and they stayed back on 
the surrounding ridges, out of reach of the bullets. 

The slow long-distance fighting was kept up for 
about an hour and a half, I believe. The Indians 
all the time could see where were the soldiers, be- 

230 



THE COMING OF CUSTER 

cause the white men were mostly on a ridge and their 
horses were with them. But the soldiers could not 
see our warriors, as they had left their ponies and 
were crawling in the gullies through the sagebrush. 
A warrior would jump up, shoot, jerk himself down 
quickly, and then crawl forward a little further. All 
around the soldier ridge our men were doing this. 
So not many of them got hit by the soldier bullets 
during this time of fighting. 

After the long time of the slow fighting, about 
forty of the soldiers * came galloping from the east 
part of the ridge down toward the river, toward where 
most of the Cheyennes and many Ogallalas were hid- 
den. The Indians ran back to a deep gulch. The 
soldiers stopped and got off their horses when they 
arrived at a low ridge where the Indians had been. 
Lame White Man, the Southern Cheyenne chief, came 
on his horse and called us to come back and fight. 
In a few minutes the warriors were all around these 
soldiers. Then Lame White Man called out: 

"Come. We can kill all of them." 

All around, the Indians began jumping up, run- 
ning forward, dodging down, jumping up again, down 
again, all the time going toward the soldiers. Right 
away, all of the white men went crazy. Instead of 

The Indians differ as to the color of the horses ridden bj these 
soldiers, but military students of the case believe this to have been 
Lieutenant Smith's troop. T. B. M. 

231 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

footing us, they turned their guns upon themselves. 
Almost before we could get to them, every one of 
them was dead. They killed themselves. 

The Indians took the guns of these soldiers and 
used them for shooting at the soldiers on the high 
ridge. I went back and got my horse and rode around 
beyond the east end of the ridge. By the time I got 
there, all of the soldiers there were dead. The In- 
dians told me that they had killed only a few of those 
men*, that the men had shot each other and shot 
themselves. A Cheyenne told me that four soldiers 
from that part of the ridge had turned their horses 
and tried to escape by going back over the trail 
where they had come. Three of these men were 
killed quickly. The fourth one got across a gulch 
and over a ridge eastward before the pursuing group 
of Sioux got close to him. His horse was very tired, 
and the Sioux were gaining on him. He was moving 
his right arm as though whipping his horse to make 
it go faster. Suddenly his right hand went up to his 
head. With his revolver he shot himself and fell 
dead from his horse. 

I raced my horse to hurry around to the hillside 
north of the soldier ridge. The Indians there were 
all around a band of soldiers on the north slope.* 
I got off my horse and fired two shots, at long dis- 

* Captain Kcogh or Captain Tom Coster, or both troops. T, B. M. 

232 



THE COMING OP CUSTER 

tance, with my soldier gun. I did not shoot any 
more, because the sagebrush was full of Indians 
jumping up and down and crawling close to the sol- 
diers, and I was afraid I might hit one of our own 
men. About that time, all of this band of soldiers 
went crazy and fired their guns at each other's heads 
and breasts or at their own heads and breasts. All 
of them were dead before the Indians got to them. 
Many hundreds of boys on horseback were watch- 
ing the battle. They were on the hills all around, 
far enough away to be out of reach of the soldier 
bullets. The ridge north of the soldier ridge was 
crowded with these boys and some old men. When 
the warriors were crowding in close to the soldiers 
on the north slope, one soldier there broke away and 
ran afoot across a gulch toward the northward hill. 
I suppose he thought there were no warriors in that 
direction, as all of them were hidden and creeping 
through the sagebrush and gullies. But several of 
them jumped up and ran after him. Just after he 
got across the gulch he stopped, stood still, and killed 
himself with his own revolver. A Cheyenne boy 
named Big Beaver lashed his pony into a dash down 
to the dead white man. The boy got the soldier's 
revolver and his belt of cartridges, jumped back upon 
his pony, and hurried away again to the hilltop. A 
Cheyenne warrior scalped the soldier and hung the 

233 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

scalp on a bunch of sagebrush, leaving it there. 
While I was at this part of the field, a Waist and 
Skirt Indian said to me: 

"I think I see the big chief of the soldiers. I have 
been watching one certain man who appears to be 
telling all of the others what to do." 

He tried to point out this man. But just then 
another bunch of soldier horses went running wildly 
among them, kicking up a great dust and knocking 
down or jostling the men. So I did not get to see 
the special man the Indian was trying to show me. 

I saw one Sioux walking slowly toward the gulch, 
going away from where were the soldiers. He wab- 
bled dizzily as he moved along. He fell down, got 
up, fell down again, got up again. As he passed 
near to where I was I saw that his whole lower jaw 
was shot away. The sight of him made me sick. I 
had to vomit. I did not know him, and I did not 
learn whether he died or not. 

I had remained on my horse during most of the 
long time of the fighting at a distance. I rode from 
place to place around the soldiers, keeping myself 
back, as my father had urged me to do, while my 
older brother crept close with the other warriors. 
I got off and crept with them, though, for a little 
while at the place where the band of soldiers rode 
down toward the river. After they were dead I got 

234 



THE COMING OF CUSTER 

my horse and mounted again. I stayed mounted 
until I got around into the gulch north from the west 
end of the soldier ridge. By this time all of the 
soldiers were gone except a band of them at the 
west end of the ridge. They were hidden behind 
dead horses. Hundreds or thousands of warriors 
were all around them, creeping closer all the time. 
From the gulch where I was I could see the north 
slope of the ridge covered by the hidden Indians. 
But the soldiers, from where they were, could not 
see the warriors, except as some Indian might jump 
up to shoot quickly and then duck down again. We 
could get only glimpses of the soldiers, but we knew 
all the time right where they were, because we could 
see their dead horses. 

I got down afoot in the gulch. I let out my long 
lariat rope for leading my horse while I joined the 
warriors creeping up the slope toward the soldiers. 
During all of the earlier fighting, when I had been 
most of the time going from place to place on horse- 
back, I had fired several shots with my rifle captured 
from the soldier when we chased them across the 
river. I also had used my six-shooter. I had re- 
placed the four bullets expended during the chase of 
the first soldiers in the valley. In this second battle 
I used up the six, reloaded the six-shooter, and fired 
all of these additional six shots at the soldiers. But 

235 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

it is hard to shoot straight when on horseback, es- 
pecially when there is much noise and much shooting 
and excitement, as the horse will not stand still. 
When I went crawling up the slope I could lie down 
and shoot. I could not see any particular soldier to 
shoot at, but I could see their dead horses, where the 
men were hiding. So I just sent my bullets in that 
direction. 

A Sioux wearing a warbonnet was lying down be- 
hind a clump of sagebrush on the hillside only a 
short distance north of where now is the big stone 
having the iron fence around it. He was about half 
the length of my lariat rope up ahead of me. Many 
other Indians were near him. Some boys were min- 
gled among them, to get in quickly for making coup 
blows on any dead soldiers they might find. A Chey- 
enne boy was lying down right behind the warbonnet 
Sioux. The Sioux was peeping up and firing a rifle 
from time to time. At one of these times a soldier 
bullet hit him exactly in the middle of the forehead. 
His arms and legs jumped in spasms for a few mo- 
ments, then he died. The boy quickly slid back down 
into a gully, jumped to his feet and ran away. 

A soldier on a horse suddenly appeared in view 
back behind the warriors who were coming from the 
eastward along the ridge. He was riding away to 
the eastward, as fast as he could make his horse go. 

236 



THE COMING OF CUSTER 

It seemed he must have been hidden somewhere 
back there until the Indians had passed him. A band 
of the Indians, all of them Sioux, I believe, got after 
him. I lost sight of them when they went beyond 
a curve of the hilltop. I suppose, though, they caught 
him and killed him. 

The shots quit coming from the soldiers. War- 
riors who had crept close to them began to call out 
that all of the white men were dead. All of the In- 
dians then jumped up and rushed forward. All of the 
boys and old men on their horses came tearing into 
the crowd. The air was full of dust and smoke. 
Everybody was greatly excited. It looked like thou- 
sands of dogs might look if all of them were mixed 
together in a fight. All of the Indians were saying 
these soldiers also went crazy and killed themselves. 
I do not know. I could not see them. But I believe 
they did so. 

Seven of these last soldiers broke away and went 
running down the coulee sloping toward the river 
from the west end of the ridge. I was on the side 
opposite from them, and there was much smoke and 
dust, and many Indians were in front of me, so I did 
not see these men running, but I learned of them 
from the talk afterward. They did not get far, be- 
cause many Indians were all around them. It was 
said that these seven men, or some of them, killed 

237 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

themselves. I do not know, as I did not see them.* 
After the great throng of Indians had crowded upon 
the little space where had been the last band of fight- 
ing soldiers, a strange incident happened: It ap- 
peared that all of the white men were dead. But 
there was one of them who raised himself to a sup- 
port on his left elbow. He turned and looked over 
his left shoulder, and then I got a good view of him. 
His expression was wild, as if his mind was all tangled 
up and he was wondering what was going on here. 
In his right hand he held his six-shooter. Many of 
the Indians near him were scared by what seemed to 
have been a return from death to life. But a Sioux 
warrior jumped forward, grabbed the six-shooter and 
wrenched it from the soldier's grasp. The gun was 
turned upon the white man, and he was shot through 
the head. Other Indians struck him or stabbed him. 
I think he must have been the last man killed in this 
great battle where not one of the enemy got away. 

* The story of wholesale suiciding is such a reversal of our accepted 
conceptions that some reader may exclaim: 'That is a villifying false- 
hood!" But it \$ the truth. Most of the Seventh cavalry enlisted, men 
on that occasion were recent recruits. Only a few of them ever had 
been in an Indian battle, or in any kind of battle. It Is evident, 
though, that they fought well through an hour and a half or two hours. 
Then, finding themselves vastly outnumbered, they <( went crazy," as the 
Indians tell. They put into panicky practice the old frontiersman rule, 
"When fighting Indians keep the last bullet for yourself." A great 
mass of circumstantial evidence supports this explanation of the mili- 
tary disaster. The author hopes to attain publication, at some future 
time, of his own foil analysis of the entire case. T. B. M. 

238 



THE COMING OF CUSTER 

This last man had a big and strong body. His 
cheeks were plump. All over his face was a stubby 
black beard. His mustache was much longer than 
his other beard, and it was curled up at the ends. 
The spot where he was killed is just above the middle 
of the big group of white stone slabs now standing 
on the slope southwest. from the big stone. I do 
not know whether he was a soldier chief or an ordi- 
nary soldier. I did not notice any metal piece nor 
any special marks on the shoulders of his clothing, 
but it may be they were there. Some of the Chey- 
ennes say now that he wore two white metal bars. 
But at that time we knew nothing about such things. 

One of the dead soldier bodies attracted special 
attention. This was one who was said to have been 
wearing a buckskin suit. I had not seen any such 
soldier during the fighting. When I saw the body it 
had been stripped and the head was cut off and gone. 
Across the breast was some writing made by blue and 
red coloring into the skin. On each arm was a pic- 
ture drawn with the same kind of blue and red paint. 
One of the pictures was of an eagle having its wings 
spread out. Indians told me that on the left arm 
had been strapped a leather packet having in it some 
white paper and a lot of the same kind of green pic- 
ture-paper found on all of the soldier bodies. Some 
of the Indians guessed that he must have been the 

239 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

big chief of the soldiers, because of the bucbkift 
clothing and because of the paint markings on his 
breast and arms.* But none of the Indians knew 
then who had been the big chief. They were only 
guessing at it 

The sun was just past the middle of the sky.** 
The first soldiers, up the valley, had come about the 
middle of the forenoon. The earlier part of the fight- 
ing against these second soldiers had been slow, all 
of the Indians staying back and approaching grad- 
ually. At each time of charging, though, the mixup 
lasted only a few minutes. 

I took one scalp. As I went walking and leading 
my horse among the dead I observed one face that 
interested me. The dead man had a long beard 
growing from both sides of his face and extending 
several inches below the chin. He had also a full 
mustache. All of the beard hair was of a light yellow 
color, as I new recall it. Most of the soldiers had 
beard growing, in different lengths, but this was the 
longest one I saw among them. I think the dead man 
may have been thirty or more years old. "Here is a 
new kind of scalp," I said to a companion. I skinned 
one side of the face and half of the chin, so as to 
keep the long beard yet on the part removed.*** I 

Evidently this was Captain Tom Custer.T. B. M. 
** All old Cheyennes insist the battle ended about noon. T. B. M. 
* Hiis unfortunate soldier probably was Lieutenant Cook. T. B. M. 

240 



THE COMING OF CUSTER 

got an arrow shaft and tied the strange scalp to the 
end of it. This I carried in a hand as I went looking 
further. 

Somebody told me Noisy Walking was badly 
wounded. I went to where he was said to be, down 
in the gulch where the band of soldiers nearest the 
river had been killed in the earlier part of the battle. 
He was my same age, and we often had been com- 
panions since our small boyhood. White Bull, an im- 
portant medicine man, was his father. I asked the 
young man: "How are you?" He replied: "Good/* 
But he did not look well. He had been hit by three 
different bullets, one of them having passed through 
his body. He had also some stab wounds in his side. 
Word had been sent to his relatives in the camp west 
of the river, and it was said his women relatives were 
coming after him with a travois. I moved on east- 
ward up the gulch coulee. 

I discovered almost hidden the dead body of an 
Indian. I did not go up close to it, but I could see 
the scalp was gone. That puzzled me. Could this 
be a Crow or a Shoshone? I had not known of there 
being any Indians belonging to these soldiers killed 
here. As I stood there looking, it seemed there was 
something familiar about the appearance of that 
body. I backed away and went to find my brother 
Yellow Hair. We two returned to the place. We 

241 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

got off our horses and walked to the dead Indian. We 
rolled the body over and looked closely. 

"Yes, it is Lame White Man," my brother agreed. 

We called other Cheyennes. Several of them came. 
All of them promptly confirmed our identification. 
All of us were satisfied some Sioux had scalped him, 
or maybe had killed him, finding him in among the 
soldiers and supposing him to be a Crow or a Sho- 
shone belonging to them. We knew he had gone 
with the young men in their charge upon the sol- 
diers there. Perhaps he had gone farther than the 
others and was killed on his way back to us, the 
killer mistaking him for an attacking enemy Indian. 
A bullet had gone in at his right breast and out at 
his back. He also had many stab wounds. He was 
still dressed in his best clothing, none of it having 
been taken. The Cheyennes never made any in- 
quiries among the Sioux concerning the case. We 
just kept quiet about it. 

My brother took the blanket from his horse and 
covered the body of the favorite Cheyenne warrior 
chief. A young man hurried away to go across the 
river and tell his people. When I came back to the 
place an hour or so afterward the dead man's wife 
and three or four women helpers had come with a 
horse dragging a travois. Four of us young men 
rolled the body into the blanket and put it upon 

242 



THE COMING OF CUSTER 

the buffalo hide stretched across the lodgepoles. The 
women set off with it toward the river. 

I helped likewise in putting my friend Noisy Walk- 
ing upon the swinging bed when his father and 
mother and other women came after him. Judging 
by his appearance then, this was the last good act 
I ever should do for him. Various groups of women, 
many more of the Sioux than of the Cheyennes, were 
m the field searching for and taking away their dead 
and wounded men. Two Sioux had been killed in 
this same first charge upon the soldiers. I did not 
like to hear the weeping of the women. My heart 
that had been glad because of the victory was made 
sad by thoughts of our own dead and dying men and 
their mourning relatives left behind. 

I noticed decorations on the shoulders and stripes 
on the arms of some of the soldier coats. I did not 
think of their meanings. I did not hear any of the 
Indians there talk about any meanings for these spe- 
cial marks. If I thought about it at all, I may have 
thought these were particular medicine ways the sol- 
diers had for preparing themselves. It was a long 
time after that day before I learned that the wearers 
of these were the soldier chiefs. 

Each Indian horse used for going into the battle 
had only a blanket strapped upon its back and a 
lariat rope about the neck. In riding, the lariat was 

243 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

looped into the horse's mouth, or was looped over 
the head and then into the mouth, for a bridle. The 
surplus of the long rope was coiled and tucked into 
the rider's belt. If a man fell from his horse the coil 
would be jerked from his belt, so he would not be 
dragged. Also, the uncoiling as the horse might 
move away would leave a long rope trailing after it, 
so it was easy to recapture the animal. That was 
the regular Indian way of riding. 

Warbonnets were worn by twelve Cheyennes 
among the three hundred or more of our warriors 
in the battle. It may be I have forgotten a few of 
them, but as I recollect it our warbonnet men on 
that day were these: * Crazy Head, Crow Necklace, 
Little Horse, Wolf Medicine, White Elk, Howling 
Wolf, Braided Locks, Chief Coming Up, Mad Wolf, 
Little Shield, Sun Bear and White Body. Three of 
these were little warrior chiefs. Ten of the war- 
bonnets had trails. Sun Bear had a single buffalo 
horn projecting out from the front of his forehead 
band. Crazy Head was a big chief of the tribe, had 
been a great fighter in past times, but was not now 
a warrior chief. While he had on his warbonnet here, 
I suppose he stayed in the background and let the 
young men do the fighting. Chief Lame White Man 

* Various old Cheyennes helped Wooden Leg in making this list 
T. B. M. 

244 



THE COMING OF CUSTER 

was not wearing a warbonnet on this occasion. It 
was not usual for a man of his high standing to go 
into the battle as he did. I suppose he did so because 
he had not there any son to serve as a warrior. 

Not any Cheyenne fought naked in this battle. All 
of them who were in the fight were dressed in their 
best, according to the custom of both the Cheyennes 
and the Sioux. Of our warriors, Sun Bear was near- 
est to nakedness. He had on a special buffalo-horn 
head-dress. I saw several naked Sioux, perhaps a 
dozen or more. Of course, these had special medi- 
cine painting on the body. Two different Sioux I 
saw wearing buffalo head skins and horns, and one 
of them had a bear's skin over his head and body. 
These three were not dressed in the usual war cloth- 
ing. It is likely there were others I did not see. Per- 
haps some of the naked ones were No Clothing 
Indians. 

A dead Uncpapa Sioux received something of the 
same kind of mistaken attention given to our Lame 
White Man. The dead Sioux was mixed in with 
dead bodies of the soldiers. An Arapaho and a No 
Clothing Indian supposed him to be a Crow or a 
Shoshone belonging to the white men fighters* They 
jabbed spears many times into the body. They were 
much embarrassed when they learned of their 
mistake. 

245 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

I found a metal bottle, as I was walking among 
the dead men. It was about half full of some kind 
of liquid. I opened it and found that the liquid was 
not water. Soon afterward I got hold of another 
bottle of the same kind that had in it the same kind 
of liquid. I showed these to some other Indians. 
Different ones of them smelled and sniffed. Finally 
a Sioux said: 

"Whisky." 

Bottles of this kind were found by several other 
Indians. Some of them drank the contents. Others 
tried to drink, but had to spit out their mouthfuls. 
Bobtail Horse got sick and vomited soon after he 
had taken a big swallow of it. It became the talk 
that this whisky explained why the soldiers became 
crazy and shot each other and themselves instead of 
shooting us. One old Indian said, though, that there 
was not enough whisky gone from any of the bottles 
to make a white man soldier go crazy. We all agreed 
then that the foolish actions of the soldiers must 
have been caused by the prayers of our medicine men. 
I believed this was the true explanation. My belief 
became changed, though, in later years. I think now 
it was the whisky.* 

I took a folded leather package from a soldier hav- 

*Thc whisky explanation is regularly advanced by the warrior 
veterans nowadays. It appears none of them have any conception of 
suicide to avoid capture. T. B. If. 

246 



THE COMING OF CUSTER 

ing three stripes on the left arm of his coat. It had 
in it lots of flat pieces of paper having pictures or 
writing I did not then understand. The paper was 
of green color. I tore it all up and gave the leather 
holder to a Cheyenne friend. Others got packages of 
the same kind from other dead white men. Some 
of it was kept by the finders. But most of it was 
thrown away or was given to boys, for them to look 
at the pictures.* 

I rode away from the battle hill in the middle of 
the afternoon. Many warriors had gone back across 
the hills to the southward, there to fight again the 
first soldiers. But I went to the camps across on 
the west side of the river. I had on a soldier coat 
and breeches I had taken. I took with me the two 
metal bottles of whisky. At the end of the arrow 
shaft I carried the beard scalp. 

I waved my scalp as I rode among our people. 
The first person I met who took special interest in 
me was my mother's mother. She was living in a 
little willow dome lodge of her own. "What is that?" 
she asked me when I flourished the scalp stick toward 
her. I told her. "I give it to you," I said, and I 
held it out to her. She screamed and shrank away. 
"Take it," I urged. "It will be good medicine for 

* Paper money. The soldiers received two months' pay after they 
had left Fort Lincoln. There had been no opportunity for them to 
spend a cent, except among themselves, since that time. T. B. M. 

247 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

you. 5 * Then I went on to tell her about my having 
killed the Crow or Shoshone at the first fight up the 
river, about my getting the two guns, about my 
knocking in the head two soldiers in the river, about 
what I had done in the next fight on the hill where 
all of the soldiers had been killed. We talked about 
my soldier clothing. She said I looked good dressed 
that way. I had thought so too, but neither the coat 
nor the breeches fit me well. The arms and legs 
were too short for me. Finally she decided she would 
take the scalp. She went then into her own little 
lodge. 

I passed one bottle of the whisky among friends. 
Each took a small drink of it until all of it was gone. 
The other bottle I gave to Little Hawk. He himself 
drank all of the whisky in it. Pretty soon, though, 
he became sick and he vomited up everything in his 
stomach. 

Some special excitement was going on over be- 
yond the Arrows All Gone camp. A big crowd of 
Sioux were gathered there. I went to see what they 
were doing. They had surrounded some Indians just 
then arrived in the camp. "Kill them, every one of 
them,' 9 some Sioux were shouting. Others were say- 
ing: "Wait. Let us be sure." Above the confusion 
of threats and general noise of the excited throng I 
heard an angry thundering: 

248 



THE COMING OF CUSTER 

"No. I had nothing to do with the soldiers. I 
am all Indian, all Cheyenne." 

It was the voice of Little Wolf, most respected of 
the four old men chiefs of the Cheyennes. He was 
speaking in our language. He could not talk Sioux. 
He never had mingled much with them, so not many 
of them knew him. 

Yellow Horse, an old Southern Cheyenne man, 
was with me. He said to me: "Let us go to Little 
Wolf. You are his relative, you know the Sioux lan- 
guage, and you should talk for him." We crowded 
our way through to the old chief. Both of us shook 
hands with him. The Sioux began talking to us 
about him. Some Cheyennes also were accusing him. 
One of these was White Bull. He knew Little Wolf, 
but he said the chief ought to have been with the 
Cheyennes long ago, that he ought not to have waited 
until after the fighting before joining us, that he 
stayed too long on the reservation. I knew that 
White Bull's heart was troubled, though, about his 
own son, Noisy Walking. Finally, Yellow Horse 
called out: "Wait until this young man talks to 
Little Wolf. He will find out and tell everybody." 

"Have you been with the soldiers?" I asked the 
chief. 

"No, you foolish boy," he flared back at me. "Do 
these people think I am a crazy man? I have with 

249 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

me seven lodges* of our people. There are families 
of women and children. They have their tepees, 
their packhorses, all of their property. Does any- 
body suppose that is the way to join the soldiers and 
help them? Not any part of me ever was white man. 
I am all Indian. I am willing to fight any man who 
says I am not." 

He went on to tell all about the experiences of his 
little band of Cheyennes. On their way out from the 
reservation they saw soldiers camped on the upper 
Rosebud, just the afternoon before. They kept hid- 
den back in the hills and watched the soldiers go on 
toward the divide leading to the Little Bighorn. His 
people did not set up their lodges that night. In- 
stead, they traveled a while and rested a while, their 
scouts all the time watching the soldiers. Early in 
the morning, some of Little Wolf's young men out 
in front found a box of something the soldiers had 
lost. Just then, some soldiers came back, shot at 
these young men, and they returned to Little Wolf.* 
The band continued to follow the soldiers, but kept 
themselves hidden. From the hilltops they heard the 
guns and saw some of the fighting. It appeared that 

* Here appears to have been the key incident that misled Ouster into 
supposing his presence revealed to the camps and that caused him to 
attack at once, lest they escape. Big Crow, Black Horse and Medicine 
Bull, all of them with the Little Wolf band, told me the details of 
this experience. T. B. M. 

250 



THE COMING OF CUSTER 

all of the Indians in the camps were running away. 
Finally, the shooting mostly died down. The 
frightened little band peeped over the hilltops and 
saw that the camps and the Indians still were on the 
valley. Then they cautiously came on to join us. 

I repeated all of this story to a Sioux chief. He 
told the assembled Sioux warriors and I told the 
Cheyennes. Some grumbling continued, many say- 
ing that Little Wolf ought to have been with us long 
ago, but all of them became satisfied that neither he 
nor his companions deserved killing. The crowd 
scattered, and the newcomers moved on to join the 
Cheyenne camp. There were some additional scold- 
ings of them on account of their having stayed so 
long at the reservation. But their women had plenty 
of sugar and coffee in their packs, and with gifts 
of these desirable extra foods they soon quieted all 
complaints. Little Wolf at that time was fifty-five 
years old. 

Burial parties of Cheyennes were going to the hill 
gulches west of our camps, to put our dead into rock 
crevices. Each warrior lost was disposed of by his 
women relatives and his young men friends. A big 
band of people went out to help bury Lame White 
Man. I accompanied the relatives of Limber Bones, 
one of our young men who had been killed. We 
took him far back up a long coulee. We found there 

251 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

a small hillside cliff. Four of us young men helped 
the women to clear out a sheltered cove. In there 
we placed the dead body, wrapped in blankets and 
a buffalo robe. We piled a wall of flat stones across 
the front of the grave. His mother and another 
woman sat down on the ground beside it to mourn 
for him. The rest of us returned to the valley. 

The Sioux likewise were disposing of their dead. 
Their customary way was to set up burial tepees. 
It appeared that in all of the Sioux camps these were 
being set up. They were placed where had been the 
dwelling lodges, or near them. In some cases the 
original dwelling lodges of the dead ones were left 
standing, in each case the body being all dressed for 
burial and left on a scaffold in the lodge or on the 
dirt floor, the dwelling being then abandoned by the 
inhabitants. This was a common mode of Sioux 
burial, and sometimes the Cheyennes did it in this 
way. 

All of the camps were being moved. This was 
in accordance with a regular custom among the In- 
dian tribes. When any death occurred in a camp, 
either from battle or from other cause, right at once 
the people began to get ready to move camp to some 
other place. The Cheyennes selected a camping spot 
down the river about a mile northwestward. The 
Sioux all began moving northwestward and back 

252 



THE COMING QF CUSTER 

from the Little Bighorn toward the base of the bench 
hills west from the river. In the new locations, all 
of the camps except the Cheyennes were west of the 
present railroad and highway. 

Most of the women and children and older people 
in the camps had fled toward the hills to the north- 
ward and westward when the first band of soldiers 
made the attack upon the Uncpapas at the upper 
part of the group of camps. I suppose there were 
very few people left in the camps at that end until 
after those soldiers had been chased away and across 
the river. When I rode up there and around the 
west and south sides of the Uncpapa and Blackfeet 
circles it was hard to keep from running over the 
Indians who were hurrying afoot toward the bench 
lands to the westward. 

Our Cheyenne people who were not active war- 
riors started to go toward the north, down the valley, 
and some of them crossed the river. But when the 
second band of soldiers were seen on the high ridge 
far out eastward these Cheyennes who had crossed 
the river returned to the camping side. Of course, 
nobody knew how many soldiers were coming. No- 
body knew what would be the outcome of their at- 
tack. They had surprised us by their sudden appear- 
ance. We were not prepared for battle. 

At the first time of the flight from the camps, many 

253 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

women and some of the men seized small packs of 
food or other precious possessions and carried them 
away. The fleeing ones stopped on the benchlands 
west of where had been their camp circles. They 
stayed there and watched the fighting. After a little 
while, since no more of the soldiers had come to that 
side of the river, people began hurrying to the camps, 
quickly gathering up other things, then hurrying 
back to the hilltops. Later, as none of our warriors 
were returning, it became evident that we were win- 
ning the contest. Our people then became more con- 
fident. The old men who were making medicine 
prayers for our success added words of encourage- 
ment to the waiting families. 

Throngs of women now were busy going back and 
forth between the old and the new camp positions. 
They were carrying water from the river and wood 
from the timber. All of the lodges not abandoned 
were taken down. Most of them were packed, not 
set up in the new spots of location. The poles were 
wrapped, the buffalo skin coverings were put into 
bundles, packs were made up, all put into readiness 
for quick movement elsewhere if need be. Only the 
cooking pots and other essential articles were left 
in use. The women went by hundreds to cut willows 
for making little skeleton dome shelters, in substi- 

254 



THE COMING OF CUSTER 

tution for the regular tepee lodges kept packed. It 
had not rained here during all of that day, but rain 
might come at any time. Not all of the Indians, 
though, prepared shelters. Many depended only 
upon robes for shielding them if shielding should 
become needful. The lodges of mourning Cheyennes 
were torn or cut to pieces or burned, and their fur- 
nishings were cast away. These bereft people, ac- 
cording to our customs, now had to live during their 
time of mourning without any lodge or any property 
of their own. They dwelt outside or with hospitable 
friends. The poles and skins of any travois used to 
carry dead bodies were also thrown away. Some- 
times the horses used to drag the travois of a dead 
person were killed or were turned loose to be captured 
by whoever might want them. 

After sundown I visited Noisy Walking. He was 
lying on a ground bed of buffalo robes under a wil- 
low dome shelter. His father White Bull was with 
him. His mother sat just outside the entrance. I 
asked my friend: "How are you?" He replied: 
"Good, only I want water. 5 ' I did not know what 
else to say, but I wanted him to know that I was 
his friend and willing to do whatever I could for him. 
I sat down upon the ground beside him. After a 
little while I said: "You were very brave." Noth- 

255 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

ing else was said for several minutes. He was weak. 
His hands trembled at every move he made. Finally 
he said to his father: 

"I wish I could have some water just a little 
of it." 

"No. Water will kill you." 

White Bull almost choked as he said this to his 
son. But he was a good medicine man, and he knew 
what was best. As I sat there looking at Noisy 
Walking I knew he was going to die. My heart was 
heavy. But I could not do him any good, so I ex- 
cused myself and went away. 

There was no dancing nor celebrating of any kind 
in any of the camps that night. Too many people 
were in mourning, among all of the Sioux as well as 
among the Cheyennes. Too many Cheyenne and 
Sioux women had gashed their arms and legs, in 
token of their grief. The people generally were 
praying, not cheering. There was much noise and 
confusion, but this was from other causes. Young 
men were going out to fight the first soldiers now 
hiding themselves on the hill across the river from 
where had been the first fighting during the morning. 
Other young men were coming back to camp after 
having been over there shooting at these soldiers. 
Movements of this kind had been going on all the 
time since the final blows fell upon all of the soldiers 

256 



THE COMING OF CUSTER 

in the second and greatest battle. Old men heralds 
were riding about all of the camps, singing the brave- 
heart songs and calling out : "Young men, be brave." 
The only fires anywhere among us were little camp 
fires for cooking. Or, there may have been at times 
a larger blaze coming from some mourning family's 
lodge being burned. 

I did not go back that afternoon nor that night to 
help in fighting the first soldiers. Late in the night, 
though, I went as a scout. Five young men of the 
Cheyennes were appointed to guard our camp while 
other people slept. These were Big Nose, Yellow 
Horse, Little Shield, Horse Road and Wooden Leg. 
One or other of us was out somewhere looking over 
the country all the time. Two of us went once over 
to the place where the soldiers were hidden. We 
got upon hill points higher than they were. We could 
look down among them. We could have shot among 
them, but we did not do this. We just saw that 
they yet were there. 

Five other young men took our duties in the last 
part of the night. I was glad to be relieved. I did 
not go to my family group for rest. I let loose my 
horse and dropped myself down upon a thick pad of 
grassy sod. 



257 



The Spoils of Battle. 

I slept late that next morning after the great 
battle. The sun had been up an hour before I awoke. 
I went to the willow lodge of my father and mother. 
When I had eaten the breakfast given to me by my 
mother I got myself ready again to risk death in an 
effort to kill other white men who had come to kill 
us. I combed and braided my hair. My braids in 
those days were full and long, reaching down my 
breast beyond the waist belt. I painted anew the 
black circle around my face and the red and yellow 
space enclosed within the circle. I was in doubt 
about which clothing to wear, but my father said the 
soldier clothing looked the best, even though the 
coat sleeves ended far above my wrists and the legs 
of the breeches left long bare spots between them 
and the tops of my moccasins. I put on my big white 
hat captured at the Rosebud fight. My sister Crooked 
Nose got my horse for me. Soon afterward I was 
on my way up and across the valley and on through 
the river to the hill where the first soldiers were 
staying. 

I had both my rifle and my six shooter. I still 

258 



THE SPOILS OF BATTLE 

was without my medicine shield and my other medi- 
cine protectors that had been lost on Powder river. 
Most of the other Cheyennes and Sioux had theirs. 
The shields all were of specially shrunken and tough- 
ened buffalo skin covered with buckskin fringed and 
painted, each with his own choice of designs, for 
the medicine influence. I went with other young men 
to the higher hills around the soldiers. I stayed at 
a distance from them and shot bullets from my new 
rifle. I did not shoot many times, as it appeared I 
was too far away, and I did not want to waste any 
of my cartridges. So I went down and hid in a gulch 
near the river. 

Some soldiers came to get water from the river, 
just as our old men had said they likely would do. 
The white men crept down a deep gulch and then 
ran across an open space to the water. Each one had 
a bucket, and each would dip his bucket for water 
and run back into the gulch. I put myself, with 
others, where we could watch for these men. I 
shot at one of them just as he straightened up after 
having dipped his bucket into the water. He pitched 
forward into the edge of the river. He went wal- 
lowing along the stream, trying to swim, but having 
a hard time at it. I jumped out from my hiding 
place and ran toward him. Two Sioux warriors got 
ahead of me. One of them waded after the man 

259 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

and struck him with a rifle barrel. Finally he grabbed 
the man, hit him again, and then dragged him dead 
to the shore, quite a distance down the river. I kept 
aftlr them, following down the east bank. Some 
other Sioux warriors came. I was the only Cheyenne 
there. The Sioux agreed that my bullet had been 
the first blow upon the white soldier, so they allowed 
me to choose whatever I might want of his 
belongings.* 

I searched into the man's pockets. In one I found 
a folding knife and a plug of chewing tobacco that 
was soaked and spoiled. In another pocket was a 
wad of the same kind of green paper taken from 
the soldiers the day before. It too was wet through. 
I threw it aside. In this same pocket were four white 
metal pieces of money. I knew they were of value 
in trading, but I did not know how much was their 
value. In later times I have learned they were four 
silver dollars. A young Cheyenne there said : "Give 
the money to me." I did not care for it, so I gave 
it to him. He thanked me and said: "I shall use 
it to buy for myself a gun." I do not remember now 
his name, but he was a son of One Horn. A Sioux 
picked up the wad of green paper I had thrown upon 
the ground. It was almost falling to pieces, but he 

In a letter published in Brady's book, Private Wm. E. Morris 
tells of the death of Tanner, of Troop M, while he was after water 
for the Reno wounded men. T. B. M. 

260 



THE SPOILS OF BATTLE 

began to spread out some of the wet sheets that still 
held together. Pretty soon he said: 

"This is money. This is what white men use to 
buy things from the traders." * 

I had seen much other paper like it during the 
afternoon before. Wolf Medicine had offered to 
give me a handful of it. But I did not take it. I 
already had thrown away some of it I had found. 
But even after I was told it could be used for buying 
things from the traders, I did not want it. I was 
thinking then it would be a long time before I should 
see or care to see any white man trader. 

I went riding over the ground where we had 
fought the first soldiers during the morning of the 
day before. I saw by the river, on the west side, a 
dead black man. He was a big man. All of his 
clothing was gone when I saw him, but he had not 
been scalped nor cut up like the white men had been. 
Some Sioux told me he belonged to their people but 
was with the soldiers.* 

As some of us were looking at the body of an In- 
dian who had been with the soldiers, an old Sioux 
said: 

"This is a Corn ** Indian, not a Crow nor Sho- 
shone." 

* Isaiah, a negro, Sioux interpreter for the Seventh cavalry. 
T.B.M. 
**The Arikaras were known as Corn people. T. B. M. 

261 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

He showed us the differences in appearance, es- 
pecially the earrings and the hair dressing. The 
Crow men wore their hair cut off above the forehead 
al roached up. The Shoshones had almost the 
same way of placing this f oretop. The Corn Indians 
kept their hair in braids, parted like that of the 
Sioux and Cheyennes, but the Corn Indian parting 
was not in the middle of the top, as ours was. I ex- 
apained again the one I had helped in beating to 
death. I learned he also was a Corn Indian. I found 
yet a third one. We who had killed them were young 
men, and there was great excitement at the time, so 
we had not observed their tribal connection. We had 
supposed them to be the same Crows and Shoshones 
we had fought on the upper Rosebud creek a few 
days before. Now there began to be talk that maybe 
these soldiers were not the same ones we |pd fought 
there. Or, perhaps they had added the Corn Indians 
to their forces since that time. There were different 
opinions on the matter. 

Some Sioux caught a mule that wandered out 
from the place where the soldiers were together on 
the hilltop. The animal was going down toward 
the river when the Indians got it. They tried to lead 
it toward their sheltered place behind a knoll, but 
it would not go. It appeared to be wanting a drink 
of water. One Sioux got behind it and whipped it, 

262 



THE SPOILS OF BATTLE 

while a companion pulled at the leading strap. But 
the mule just stood there, would not move. On its 
back were packs of cartridges. The Sioux took these 
and let the mule go. 

I went with other Cheyennes along the hills north- 
ward to the ground where we had killed all of the 
soldiers. Lots of women and boys were there. The 
boys were going about making coups by stabbing 
or shooting arrows into the dead men. Some of the 
bodies had many arrows sticking in them. Many 
hands and feet had been cut off, and the limbs and 
bodies and heads had many stabs and slashes. Some 
of this had been done by the warriors, during and 
immediately after the battle. More was added, 
though, by enraged and weeping women relatives of 
the Sioux and Cheyennes who had been killed. The 
women ufed sheathknives and hatchets. 

A dog was following one of the Sioux women 
among the dead soldiers. I did not see any other 
dog there, neither on that day nor on the day before, 
when the fight was on. There were some Indian 
dogs tangling among the feet of the horses at the 
time of the fighting of the first soldiers, on the valley 
above the camps. But even here most of them were 
called away by the women and old people going to 
the western hilltops. 

Three different soldiers, among all of the dead in 

263 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CJJSTER 

both places of battle, attracted special notice from 
the Indians. The first was the man wearing the 
buckskin suit and who had the colored writing and 
pmures on his breast and arms. Another was the 
black man killed among the first soldiers on the 
valley. The third was one having gold among his 
teeth. We did not understand how this metal got 
there, nor why it was there. 

Paper boxes of ammunition were in the leather 
bags carried on the saddles of the soldiers. Besides, 
in all of the belts taken from the dead men there 
were cartridges. Some belts had only a few left in 
them. In others the loops still contained many, an 
occasional one almost full. I did not see nor hear 
of any belt entirely emptied of its cartridges. 

All during that forenoon, as well as during the 
afternoon and night before, both in the camps and 
on the battle grounds, Indians were saying to each 
other: "I got some tobacco." "I got coffee." "I 
got two horses." "I got a soldier saddle." "I got a 
good gun." Some got things they did not under- 
stand. 

One young Cheyenne took something from a dead 
soldier just after all of them had been killed. He 
was puzzled by it. Some others looked at it. I was 
with them. It was made of white metal and had glass 
on one side. On this side were marks of some kind* 

264 



THE SPOILS OF BATTLE 

While the Cheyenne was looking at it he got it up 
toward his ear. Then he put it up close. 

"It is alive!" he said. 

Others put it to their ears and listened. I put" it 
up to mine. 

"Tick-tick-tick-tick-tick-tick," it was saying. 

We talked about its use. We agreed generally it 
was that soldier's special medicine. Many Indians 
came and wondered about it. The young man de- 
cided to keep it for his own medicine. 

When I was getting ready the next morning to go 
and fight again the soldiers staying on the hilltop, 
the Cheyenne young man had a crowd around him 
again examining his strange white man medicine. 
They were listening, but it made no sound. After 
different ones had studied it, he finally threw it away 
as far as he could throw it. * 

"It is not good medicine for me," he said. "It 
is dead." 

I saw another soldier medicine thing something 
like this one, but the other one was larger and it did 
not make the ticking noise. It acted, though, like 
it was alive. When it was held with the glass side 
up a little arrow fluttered around. When it was held 
quiet for a while the arrow gradually stopped flut- 
tering. Every time it stopped the point of the arrow 
was toward the north, down the valley. There was 

265 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

talk then of other soldiers coming from that direc- 
tion, so it was decided this medicine object was useful 
for finding out at any time where might be soldiers. 
Little Shield had it when I saw it. He gave it to High 
Walking. Another Cheyenne got a pair of field 
glasses. We understood them. This was a big pair. 

Cleaners for the rifles puzzled us a while. They 
were in joints and were carried in a long hole in the 
end of the wooden stock. Pretty soon we learned 
what was their use. I saw one rifle that had a shell 
of cartridge in its barrel. A Sioux had it. He could 
not put into the gun any other cartridge, so he threw 
it into the river. 

Yellow Weasel, a Cheyenne, got a bugle. He tried 
to make a noise with it, but he could not. Others 
tried. Different ones puffed and blowed at it. But 
nobody could make it sound out. After a while we 
heard a bugle making a big noise somewhere among 
the Sioux. The Cheyennes said: "The Sioux got 
a good one. This one Yellow Weasel has is no good. 
He might as well throw it away." But he kept it, and 
it was not long until he was making it sound. 

One Cheyenne got a flag. There were several 
others among the Sioux. I do not know just how 
many they got, but I believe I saw nine of them. 

Bridle bits were thrown away, but the leather parts 
were kept. I got two sets of bridle reins, but no other 

266 



THE SPOILS OF BATTLE 

parts of the bridles. A Cheyenne gave them to me. 
All of the soldier boots were taken from them. But 
they were not worn by the Indians. The bottoms 
were cut off and discarded. Only the tops used. 
These made good leather pouches, or the leather was 
cut up to make something else. Old men were al- 
lowed to have all of the saddles. But only a few of 
the Cheyenne old men got them. I saw lots of Sioux 
old men riding around on soldier saddles, either 
on the soldier horses or the Indian horses. 

All of the soldier horses taken by the Indians were 
good. They were fat and sleek and strong and lively. 
They were better than any of the Indian horses. Some 
were killed or were so badly wounded we did not want 
them. But when we could scare them away from 
the soldiers as the fighting was going on, we did 
this. Any time that horses got among us we turned 
them toward the river, for the old men or the boys 
to*capture. It was easy to do this, as they were 
vqjy thirsty. One big band of them went down from 
the west end of the ridge. 

Noisy Walking died during the night after the 
great battle. Six Cheyennes now had been killed. 
Another man, Open Belly, was badly wounded and 
was expected to die. He was about thirty years old, 
but he had neither wife nor children. The six dead 
were: 

267 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

Lame White Man, age about thirty-eight, wife and 
two children. 

Limber Bones, age twenty, not married. 

Black Bear, age twenty, not married. 

Noisy Balking, age eighteen, not married. 

Humfl Nose, age sixteen, not married. 

Whirlwind, age sixteen, not married. 

Others had wounds that crippled them but did not 
threaten to kill them. Little Bird got a bullet through 
a thigh. Many had scratch wounds. Sun Bear al- 
most got killed. He went into the first great Chey- 
enne charge. A bullet glanced off his forehead. He 
was dazed and he fell down. But he got up right 
away and went on fighting. 

Hump Nose and Whirlwind were killed during the 
first battle, above the camps. Hump Nose fell on 
the west side of the river, in the valley fighting. 
Whirlwind's death took place on the east side, when 
he had the fight with the Corn Indian, who also was 
killed. Lame White Man and Noisy Walking re- 
ceived their bullets at the time of the first charge 
among the Custer soldiers who rode down toward 
the river. Open Belly, our man who died after we 
arrived east of Powder river, was hit by a soldier bul- 
let when he was riding across the bench where the 
stone house of the Custer Battlefield National Ceme- 
tery now is standing. Limber Bones and Black Bear 

268 



THE SPOILS OF BATTLE 

were killed on the steep slope just north of the pres- 
ent Custer stone monument. Both Limber Bones and 
Black Bear were a little taller than I WLS./ After 
they were gone I was the tallest young manf in the 
tribe, I believe. I heard of a few women-riding out 
to watch the fighting, but I did not see ail^ women 
there during that time. None of them was doing 
any fighting. All of them kept far back. 

The Indians supposed all the time that these were 
the same soldiers we had fought on the upper Rose- 
bud valley. Little Wolf and his people, arriving just 
after the fight ended, explained to us that these men 
just killed came from another direction. Then, when 
we learned that the Indians with these soldiers at 
the Little Bighorn were Corn Indians, not Crows 
or Shoshones, it began to appear that the Little Wolf 
band had it right, that these really were not the Rose- 
bud battle soldiers. 

During the afternoon it was learned that yet an- 
other band of white men were coming up the Little 
Bighorn valley.* All of the young men wanted to 
fight them. A council of chiefs was held. They 
decided we should continue in our same course not 
fight any soldiers if we could get away without doing 
so. All of the Indians then got ready to move. 

*The Terry-Gibbon forces. They camped that night on the site of 
the present Crow Agency. T. B. M. 

269 



A WAKRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

Lame White Man, age about thirty-eight, wife and 
two children. 

Limber Bones, age twenty, not married. 

Black Bear, age twenty, not married. 

Noisy Balking, age eighteen, not married. 

Hun$ Nose, age sixteen, not married. 

Whirlwind, age sixteen, not married. 

Others had wounds that crippled them but did not 
threaten to kill them. Little Bird got a bullet through 
a thigh. Many had scratch wounds. Sun Bear al- 
most got killed. He went into the first great Chey- 
enne charge. A bullet glanced off his forehead. He 
was dazed and he fell down. But he got up right 
away and went on fighting. 

Hump Nose and Whirlwind were killed during the 
first battle, above the camps. Hump Nose fell on 
the west side of the river, in the valley fighting. 
Whirlwind's death took place on the east side, when 
he had the fight with the Corn Indian, who also was 
killed. Lame White Man and Noisy Walking re- 
ceived their bullets at the time of the first charge 
among the Custer soldiers who rode down toward 
the river. Open Belly, our man who died after we 
arrived east of Powder river, was hit by a soldier bul- 
let when he was riding across the bench where the 
stone house of the Custer Battlefield National Ceme- 
tery now is standing. Limber Bones and Black Bear 

268 



THE SPOILS OF BATTLE 

were killed on the steep slope just north of the pres- 
ent Glister stone monument. Both Limber Bones and 
Black Bear were a little taller than I was.. After 
they were gone I was the tallest young marf in the 
tribe, I believe. I heard of a few women-riding out 
to watch the fighting, but I did not see arfy women 
there during that time. None of them was doing 
any fighting. All of them kept far back. 

The Indians supposed all the time that these were 
the same soldiers we had fought on the upper Rose- 
bud valley. Little Wolf and his people, arriving just 
after the fight ended, explained to us that these men 
just killed came from another direction. Then, when 
we learned that the Indians with these soldiers at 
the Little Bighorn were Corn Indians, not Crows 
or Shoshones, it began to appear that the Little Wolf 
band had it right, that these really were not the Rose- 
bud battle soldiers. 

During the afternoon it was learned that yet an- 
other band of white men were coming up the Little 
Bighorn valley.* All of the young men wanted to 
fight them. A council of chiefs was held. They 
decided we should continue in our same course not 
fight any soldiers if we could get away without doing 
so. All of the Indians then got ready to move. 

*Thc Terry-Gibbon forces. They camped that night on the site of 
the present Crow Agency. T. B. M. 

269 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

Mourning families abandoned and left behind their 
meat, robes, cooking pots and everything else they 
owned, as well as their vacated or destroyed lodges. 
That was a custom among all of the Sioux tribes the 
same as with the Cheyennes. I saw several Sioux 
tepees left standing. I supposed there were dead 
warriors in some of them, or perhaps in all of them. 
Some Cheyenne tepees were left standing. These had 
belonged to families wherein a member had been 
killed. But, except the lodges and property aban- 
doned by mourning people, all of the possessions of 
the Indians were taken with us. 

Late in the afternoon the procession of tribes was 
in movement. Again, as at all other times, the Chey- 
ennes went ahead and the Uncpapas came last. Sev- 
eral parties of young men went aside to go across the 
river and shoot again among the soldiers camped on 
the high hill. A few stayed there until darkness 
camQ. Uncpapa scouts watched behind, observing 
particularly the new band of soldiers coming up the 
Little Bighorn valley. 

We set out southwestward up the small valley of 
a creek just south of the present Garryowen railroad 
station. Soon we mounted to the benchland and 
traveled southward. Late in the night, the whole 
caravan stopped and rested a few hours, all sleeping 
in the open, with no lodges. At daylight we traveled 

270 



THE SPOILS OF BATTLE 

on, now following up the Little Bighorn valley. Dur- 
ing the afternoon we stopped for camping. The 
Cheyenne circle, at the leading or southern end, was 
about two miles below the mouth of Greasy Grass 
creek, below the place where now is located the town 
of Lodge Grass, Montana. 



271 



XI 

Rovings after the Victory. 

All of the lodges were set up here below the mouth 
of Greasy Grass creek. All of the six tribal camp 
circles were arranged as they had been before the 
soldiers came and troubled us. The Cheyennes again 
were on one of their favorite old camping spots. 
They still were at the advance side of the group of 
circles. The Uncpapas still were at the opposite 
side. 

I was stationed as a wolf to keep lookout from a 
hill near our camp. As I sat there, an Indian young 
man rode up to me. He asked me, in Sioux language, 
"Who are you?" I said, "I am a Cheyenne." He 
got down from his horse. He had tobacco and a pipe, 
and we had a smoke together. He told me he be- 
longed to the Waist and Skirt people, but I already 
could see that, by his earrings. All of the Waist and 
Skirt men wore elk teeth hanging from their ears. 
After we had smoked and visited a while, he said: 

"I think the big chief of the soldiers we killed 
was named Long Hair. One of my people killed him. 
He has known Long Hair many years, and he is sure 
this was him. He could tell him by the long and 
wavy yellow hair." 

272 



ROVINGS AFTER THE VICTORY 

This was the first time I ever had heard of any 
such person as Long Hair. The news was interesting 
to me at first, but after I had thought a few moments 
about it the story seemed not very important. I 
recalled myself having seen at least three soldiers 
having long and light-colored hair. One of these I 
had shot after he was dead. Just after the end of 
the fighting I saw this long-haired soldier lying there 
without any appearance of wounds on him. So I 
put the muzzle of my rifle against the side of his head 
and sent a bullet through it. This man's clothing 
was gone when I first saw him. I had not any thought 
about whether or not he was a chief. 

A great council was held at the Greasy Grass camp 
that night. Chiefs of all of the tribes were there. It 
was out of doors, in the midst of the camp circles. 
I believe it was at the Ogallala camp, but I am not 
sure. At this council I heard an Uncpapa Sioux war 
chief say: 

"Long Hair was big chief of the soldiers. I saw 
him there, and I killed him. I know it was him. I 
could not mistake the long and wavy yellow hair/* * 

I did not hear anyone else during that time make 
claims of knowing who was the soldier big chief. 

In fact, his wife and others to whom he was well known assert that 
General Ouster was not wearing his hair long at the tune he was killed. 
For some time before that occasion he had kept his hair cut short* 
T.B.M. 

273 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

There was some talk, though, that all of those sol- 
diers had been chosen specially for their bravery and 
had been sent out direct from Washington. It was 
generally agreed that whoever was the big chief of 
them, he must have been the big chief of all of the 
white man soldiers in the world. 

At this council I heard chiefs of the different tribes 
announce the number of their killed. The Cheyennes 
had lost 6. Uncpapas, 7. Arrows All Gone, 4. Min- 
neconjoux, 3. Ogallalas, 2. I have forgotten the 
numbers from the Waist and Skirt, Burned Thigh 
and Blackfeet Sioux. I think, though, that all of 
these three tribes together might have lost 7 or 8. 
Total deaths, about 30.* 

The Cheyenne warriors had a dance at this Greasy 
Grass camp. Charcoal Bear, our medicine chief, 
brought the buffalo skin from the sacred tepee and 
put it upon the top of a pole in the center of our 
camp circle. We danced around this pole. No 
women took part in the dancing. Many of them had 
sore legs from the mourning cuts. Our dance was 
not carried very far into the night. It was mostly 
a short telling of experiences, a counting of coups. 
My father told, in a few words, what his two sons 
had done. When he had ended the telling of my 

*The small loss is explainable by the extensive suiciding among 
the soldiers. T.B.M. 

274 



ROVINGS AFTER THE VICTORY 

warrior acts, he said: "The name of this son of 
mine is Wooden Leg." Up to this time some people 
still used my boyhood name, Eats From His Hand. 
But now this old name was entirely gone. 

Some of the Sioux people had little dances here, 
the same as the Cheyennes were having. But not all 
of them did this. The Uncpapas did not dance. 
They said it was not time, that we ought to mourn 
yet a while. Some of them came to look on quietly 
at our gathering. 

Only one sleep we stayed at the Greasy Grass loca- 
tion. The great band of Indians trailed from there 
on up the Little Bighorn valley. Our next stop was 
near where is the present town of Wyola. 

An accidental killing took place during the time 
we were at this next camp. That afternoon, as we 
were traveling, a Cheyenne named Coffee was among 
the men who hunted buffalo along the way. He got 
a load of meat on his pack horse and joined us just 
after the camp had been set up. He belonged to our 
tribal medicine lodge, as a helper for the chief medi- 
cine man. He rode to the medicine lodge and made 
a movement to dismount from his horse. He had 
a rifle strapped in front of his body. As he swung 
himself from the horse, his rifle accidentally was dis- 
charged. Coffee originally had been a Southern 
Cheyenne, but for many years he had been a mem- 

275 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

her of our tribe. He was an old man, but he never 
was married. He said that one having his position 
as helper to the medicine chief ought not to have a 
wife. But Charcoal Bear, the medicine chief, had a 
wife and two children. 

After one sleep at this place we turned eastward 
and went over the hills to the extreme upper Rose- 
bud. One sleep at this place. We moved on down, 
going past the ground where we had fought the sol- 
diers on this creek. We camped a few miles below 
where this fight had taken place. One sleep here. 
The movement was kept up down this valley. The 
next camp was pitched near the present Busby. 
After one sleep here we traveled on northward. This 
time we stopped at our favorite old camping place 
on the Rosebud above the mouth of Muddy creek. 

I was not with the camps at all of these stopping 
places. Like many others, I was out a part of the 
time looking for meat. I took it to my people when 
I could get any. Buffalo were scarce along the line 
of travel, so most of the game killed was elk, deer or 
antelope. Many people among the Indians were 
hungry for more food. Partly because of the fast 
traveling and partly because the hunters were not 
going far on account of soldiers in the country, the 
food demands of the people could not be supplied to 
their full satisfaction. 

276 



ROVINGS AFTER THE VICTORY 

I went out with one party, though, as far as the 
present town of Sheridan, Wyoming. We found there 
plenty of buffalo. We loaded our pack horses and 
started to return to the moving Indians. But some- 
body saw soldiers, or it was said they had been seen. 
I did not see them. But I quickly threw off the meat 
from my pack horse, the same as the others did, and 
we rode away southward as fast as our horses could 
go. Not far off we got into a wooded canyon and hid 
there until darkness came. At night we went back 
and picked up all of our meat. We then traveled on, 
and the next day we got to our people. 

We Cheyennes had a dance at our camp near the 
mouth of Muddy creek, on the Rosebud. I do not 
recollect any dance in any other tribal circle at this 
place. Our warriors again talked in public of acts 
at the great battle. One would dance, flourish a 
gun, and say, "I killed a white man soldier." An- 
other would do the same. Each one who did this 
had to have witnesses to verify his claims. A few 
women took part in the dance. My grandmother 
was one of them. She had the bearded face scalp I 
gave to her, and she told of my doings in the fight 
with the first soldiers. After this dance, she threw 
away the scalp. 

One sleep we stayed here. Then we continued 
down the Rosebud. The next stop was below the 

277 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT OUSTER 

mouth of Lame Deer creek, as it now is known. We 
moved from there on down to the mouth of the stream 
now called Greenleaf creek. All along the Rosebud 
we had seen the trail of the soldiers we had killed 
at the Little Bighorn. We now had full proof that 
they had come up this valley from the Yellowstone. 
After one sleep at the Greenleaf camping place we 
left the Rosebud valley. 

The direction of movement was turned eastward. 
We followed the little branch stream to its head and 
went on over the divide to Tongue river. Stopped 
there, one sleep. Next day, traveled up this valley 
to Otter creek and on up this little valley several 
miles. One sleep in the camp on Otter creek. The 
next camp was set up at the head of Otter creek. The 
day after that our great band of tribes went over an- 
other divide and camped on what the white people 
call Pumpkin creek. One sleep, then eastward to a 
branch of Powder river. Next, to Powder river. 
Following, one day of travel down Powder river and 
one more camping beside this stream. Crossed the 
river and went up a creek flowing into its east side. 
This creek is the next one south of that one where 
the combined Indians had traveled in starting from 
east of Powder river toward the valleys westward from 
there. 

We now were in the same region where all of the 

278 



ROVINGS AFTER THE VICTORY 

tribes had come together three months before this 
time. In coming back to the gathering place all 
of the Indians traveled together, as we had done in 
going westward from it. The Cheyennes still were 
moving in the advance and camping in the advance. 
The Uncpapas still were following last and camping 
last. On the return we hurried from place to place. 
There was no stopping for special hunting. I be- 
lieve we remained only one sleep at each of the camps. 
I may have forgotten one or two places of our camp- 
ing. I think, though, that it was sixteen or more 
sleeps from the battle camp on the Little Bighorn 
back to this place on the creek east of Powder river. 

Open Belly, our badly wounded man, died here 
east of Powder river. One wounded Sioux had died 
along the way. This brought the Cheyenne loss from 
the battle up to seven. Some Sioux count also was 
increased by one. All of the Indians then had lost 
about thirty-two warriors as a result of the great 
battle. The wounded men had been carried during 
all of the journey on travois beds. That makes easier 
riding than any other way I know. But it may have 
been they could have become well if during all the 
time they had been quiet in a lodge. 

The Indians were hungry. Our meat was all gone. 
The horses had been traveling hard every day and 
were tired. The fat and sleek soldier horses we had 

279 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

were more tired than the Indian ponies. It was said 
this was because they were not used to living on 
grass alone, as the Indian ponies were. 

We stayed four or five sleeps at this camping place. 
Every day the chiefs met in council. Finally, they 
decided on a separation of the tribes. It seemed there 
was no danger just now from soldiers. By traveling 
separately, or in small bands, more meat and skins 
could be taken by each tribe or band. The horses 
all could get more grass when scattered. Everybody 
agreed it was best to separate. I think this was the 
intention of the chiefs all the time, but we were stay- 
ing together for yet a few days of final visiting in a 
quiet camp before the separation. 

The Cheyennes went first down the Powder river. 
We followed it to where it flows into Elk river. We 
found a big pile of corn in sacks by Elk river. We 
fed some of it to our soldier horses. Some people 
cooked a little and ate it. We emptied out most of 
the remainder and took the sacks. 

By Powder river we saw lying dead an old man 
and an old woman. They were Sioux. Both of the 
bodies were humped down close together among some 
brush as if they had been in hiding there when they 
had been shot. Many bullet wounds were in both of 
them, all of the holes in the back of the head and 
back of the body. There were lots of tracks of sol- 

280 



ROVINGS AFTER THE VICTORY 

dier horses there. The old man was scalped, but 
the woman was not. 

We saw a steamboat on Elk river. Soldiers were 
on the boat. As they passed along, some of the 
Cheyennes shot at them. I do not know whether or 
not any soldier was hit by the shots. They did not 
shoot back at us. The boat did not stop. 

We moved back up Powder river. We camped 
and hunted all along far above the forks of the Pow- 
der and the Little Powder. We went over to Tongue 
river, to the upper Rosebud, to the upper Little Big- 
horn branches. We moved back and forth among 
the valleys of these higher regions. We got plenty 
of game and our horses had plenty of grass* 

Four Cheyennes, Bear Man, Bullets Not Harm 
Him, Big Nose and myself Wooden Leg, went out 
from a camp on the upper Rosebud to get buffalo 
meat. We went far out southward. We got our pack 
horses loaded and started back. We heard many 
shots following close after each other. 

"Soldiers are after somebody," we agreed. 

We hurried away from that neighborhood. None 
of us went to look. The next day at camp we learned 
what had happened. Some soldiers had been after 
a mixed hunting party of Sioux and Cheyennes. Tall 
Bear, a Cheyenne, had been killed. 

All during the remainder of the summer the Chey- 

281 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

ennes traveled and hunted. We kept mostly in the 
upper parts of the valleys. Not many of our people 
went to the reservation. But some more came out 
and joined us. Dull Knife, the old man chief, was 
with us soon after the separation of the tribes. All 
of the four old men chiefs now were here. Charcoal 
Bear kept our tribal medicine lodge set up at every 
place of camping. When the leaves began to fall we 
were on Powder river. We camped and hunted along 
up its valley. As the snows of winter began to fall 
we moved farther up. 

Ten of us young men decided to go on a war party 
against the Crows. Black Hawk and Yellow Weasel 
were the big men or leaders of this party. We left 
the tribal camp on a small creek flowing into the west 
side of Powder river. It was located then almost in 
the Big Horn mountains, far up beyond where now is 
Buffalo, Wyoming. 

Six sleeps we ten Cheyenne warriors traveled west- 
ward and northward, looking all the time for Crows. 
We would kill any Crow found, if we could, or what- 
ever horses of theirs we might find would be made 
ours if we could get them. Our sixth sleep was on 
the west side of the Bighorn river, just below the 
place where in past times had been the soldier fort.* 

* Port C. F. Smith. 

282 



ROVINGS AFTER THE VICTORY 

We now were in Crow land. But we had not yet seen 
any Crow Indian. 

We followed on down the west side of the Bighorn 
to its mouth. We crossed there to its east side and 
went a little distance down the Elk river. There we 
saw a Crow man, woman and some children traveling 
up the valley with only their one lodge. We hid 
back. They did not see us. We decided not to harm 
them. We turned back and set off up the east side 
of the Bighorn. When we got to the mouth of the 
Little Bighorn we followed up this valley. Our tenth 
sleep of the war journey found us camping where now 
is Crow Agency, only a short distance down the river 
from where had been the great combined camp when 
we had fought the soldiers during the early summer. 

We rode next morning all about the camping 
places of the Indians when the soldiers had come. 
We looked where had been the little shelter camps 
after the battle with them. We went then across the 
river and over to the ridge where we had killed all of 
the soldiers. The weather was clear and chilly, but 
not cold. There was no snow on the ground. We 
led our horses as we walked all over the battle field. 
Each man told the others of his own experiences dur- 
ing the fight. I showed them where Noisy Walking 
had been found and where my brother and I came 
upon the body of Lame White Man. The places 

283 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

where all of the killed Cheyennes and many of the 
Sioux had fallen were known by some one or other 
of us. We visited all of these places and talked of 
the dead Indian friends. 

Dirt and sagebrush mounds now were at the places 
where had been the dead soldiers. In a few places 
we could see some parts of their bodies exposed. But 
mostly the graves were good, except they had no 
stones piled over them. At one end of many different 
ones of the graves was a straight board stuck into the 
ground, to stand up there. They were straight 
boards, not crosses. Dead horses were lying in decay 
here and there among the graves. Wolves had been 
eating at the horses. I did not notice any place where 
jf appeared wolves had been at the graves. 

I found a folding knife that had belonged to some 
soldier. Another of our party found a Sioux sheath- 
knife. Soldier boot bottoms and other pieces of sol- 
dier belongings were scattered here and there. I 
saw some broken Cheyenne spears. There were many 
hundreds of arrows lying all along the ridge and on 
its sides. Some were Cheyenne arrows, but mostly 
they were from the bows of the Sioux. 

I hunted specially for cartridges. The others also 
picked them up, but they were getting them to give to 
friends. I was the only one of this party having a 
soldier rifle. There were lots of empty shells, and 

284 



ROVINGS AFTER THE VICTORY 

from place to place we picked up loaded ones. Near 
a dead horse I found a whole pasteboard boxful of 
good cartridges. There were forty of them in the 
box. The box had been rotted by rain and had fallen 
apart, but the cartridges were good. They only 
needed to be wiped dry. I filled my belt and put the 
remainder into my pockets. Others found other box- 
fuls. 

We went on southward over the hills to the place 
where the first soldiers had hidden themselves on the 
hilltop. We found other cartridges here. After hav- 
ing looked a while at this place we forded the river to 
the west side and walked about over the valley where 
the first fight had taken place. One other man and 
myself were the only two in this party who had bee^ 
in this battle. We told our companions about how 
we chased the soldiers and killed them. I showed 
them right where I had taken my rifle from the sol- 
dier and where I had helped in killing the Corn In* 
dian. I pointed out to them the place where I was 
hidden and where was the soldier when I shot him as 
he was dipping up water. I told of my getting the 
wet tobacco from a hip pocket and the metal money 
from another pocket. They laughed when I told 
of having thrown aside the wet paper money the sol- 
dier had folded and laid into a little paper box. 

We slept this night only a little distance up the 

285 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

valley from this first battle ground. Here we made 
for ourselves the same kind of little brush shelters 
we had been making each night. We slept by twos 
or in groups, to keep warm. 

The next morning we set out over the divide east- 
ward toward the Rosebud. We followed the same 
trail regularly used by the Indians traveling this re- 
gion, the same that had been used by the soldiers in 
coming to us. Four more sleep camps we made in 
going on eastward to Tongue river and up this valley. 
Somewhere below the mouth of Hanging Woman 
creek our scouts caught sight of Indians coming down 
the valley. All of us got to where we might see. 
Most of the Indians were afoot. Only a few had 
horses. We watched and wondered. Who were 
these people? 

The band of walking Indians were our Cheyennes, 
the whole tribe. They had but little food. Many of 
them had no blankets nor robes. They had no 
lodges. Only here and there was one wearing moc- 
casins. The others had their feet wrapped in loose 
pieces of skin or of cloth. Women, children and old 
people were straggling along over the snow-covered 
trail down the valley. The Cheyennes were very 
poor. 

Our people told us of soldiers and Pawnee Indians 
having come to the camp far up Powder river where 

286 



ROVINGS AFTER THE VICTORY 

we had left them. The Cheyennes had to run away 
with only a few small packs, as our small band had 
done on lower Powder river during the late winter 
before this time. The same as we had done, they had 
to see all of their lodges burned and most of their 
horses taken. Many of our men, women and children 
had been killed. Others had died of wounds or had 
starved and frozen to death on the journey through 
the mountain snow to Tongue river. Three Chey- 
enne women and a boy had been captured by the 
Pawnees.* 

The tribe were hunting now for the Ogallala Sioux, 
where Crazy Horse was the principal chief. These 
Sioux were somewhere in this region. We crossed to 
the east side of Tongue river just above the present 
white man town of Ashland, Montana, and went over 
the benches to Otter creek. After a night of sleep 
here we moved on eastward over the little mountains. 
Travel and sleep, travel and sleep, we kept going. 
Eleven sleeps the tribe had journeyed when we ar- 
rived at the place on Beaver creek where now is a 
white man trading store and a postoffice called Stacey. 
Here we found the Ogallalas. 

The Ogallala Sioux received us hospitably. They 
had not been disturbed by soldiers, so they had good 
lodges and plenty of meat and robes. They first as- 

*This Powder river fight was on November 26th, 1876.- T.B.M. 

287 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

sembled us in a great body and fed us all we wanted 
to eat. To all of the women who needed other food 
they gave a supply. They gave us robes and blan- 
kets. They shared with us their tobacco. Gift horses 
came to us. Every married woman got skins enough 
to make some kind of lodge for her household. Oh 9 
how generous were the Ogallalas! Not any Chey- 
enne was allowed to go to sleep hungry or cold that 
night. 

We had traveled and hunted much during past 
times with these Sioux people. At all times there 
was some one or more families of them with us or 
some of our Cheyennes with them. Of our friendly 
intermarrying, there was more connection with the 
Ogallalas than with any other tribe. Their people 
during the summer and fall had been going to and 
from the agency more than ours had been. Our few 
incoming Cheyennes had brought us some news about 
the soldiers we had fought on the Little Bighorn. 
But the Ogallalas informed us more fully. From 
them we learned that the big chief of the soldiers was 
Long Hair, the same man who several years before 
this time had fought the Southern Cheyennes. 

After we had rested with the Ogallalas a few days 
the chiefs counciled together and decided that the 
tribes should join in movement up the Tongue river. 
All of us then followed our back trail over to Otter 

288 



ROVINGS AFTER THE VICTORY 

creek and on to Tongue river. We moved slowly and 
hunted along the way. The Cheyennes got a new 
supply of buffalo meat and many more skins for en- 
larging their lodges. We crossed Tongue river on the 
ice, to the east side. Not far up the valley we went 
back over the ice, to the west side. We traveled then 
on up the benchland trails, to Hanging Woman 
creek. The Ogallalas had some cattle they had taken 
from white people or from soldiers. These were 
butchered along the way. They had yet also a few of 
the horses taken at the battle on the Little Bighorn. 
But these horses that had been so fat and strong were 
now poor and weak. Most of them already had died. 
They did not know how to find winter food like the 
Indian ponies could find it. 

At Hanging Woman creek it was decided the two 
tribes would separate. The Ogallalas would go east- 
ward up this stream. The Cheyennes would continue 
on up the Tongue river valley. As usual, a few Chey- 
ennes joined the Sioux and a few of their people de- 
cided to come with us. My sister Crooked Nose 
started with the other people. Chiefs Crazy Horse 
and Water All Gone and a few other Ogallalas came 
to us. Just as the tribes were about to separate, some 
scouts brought in the report: 

"Soldiers are coming!" 

The two bands of Indians began to come again to- 

289 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

gether. The warriors mingled themselves as being of 
one tribe. The women and children and older men 
of both sets of people moved together up the Tongue 
river. The young men put themselves behind their 
fleeing people. Somebody said to me: 

"They have captured some women. Your sister 
is one of them." 

My heart jumped when this news came to me. I 
lashed my horse into a run toward where it was said 
they had been captured. There I saw tracks of sol- 
dier horses. The trail led to the river ice. On the 
opposite side of the river, the west side, were soldiers. 
They began shooting at me. I had to get away. I did 
not see any of the women, so I supposed they had 
been killed. My heart then became bitter toward 
these white men. 

I hid my horse in the brush at the foot of a ridge 
where some warriors were on its top. I walked up 
there. Many Indians were hidden behind rocks and 
were shooting toward the soldiers. I chose for my- 
self a hiding place and did the same. I had my sol- 
dier rifle and plenty of cartridges. Many soldiers 
were coming across on the ice, to fight us. But we 
had the advantage of them because of our position on 
the high and rocky ridge. 

Big Crow, a Cheyenne, kept walking back and 

290 



ROVINGS AFTER THE VICTORY 

forth along the ridge on the side toward the soldiers. 
He was wearing a warbonnet. He had a gun taken 
from the soldiers at the Little Bighorn battle. He 
used up his cartridges and came back to us hidden be- 
hind the rocks, to ask for more. Cheyennes and 
Sioux here and there each gave him one or two or 
three. He soon got enough to fill his belt. He went 
out again to walk along the ridge, to shoot at the 
soldiers and to defy them in their efforts to hit him 
with a bullet. All of us others kept behind the rocks, 
only peeping around at times to shoot. Crazy Horse, 
the Ogallala chief, was near me. Bullets glanced 
off the shielding rocks, but none hit us. One came 
close to me. It whizzed through the folds of my 
blanket at my side. 

Big Crow finally dropped down. He lay there 
alive, but apparently in great distress. A Sioux went 
with me to crawl down to where he was and bring 
him into shelter. Another Sioux came after us. 
When we got to the wounded man I took hold of his 
feet and the two Sioux grasped his hands. The 
three of us crawled and dragged him along on the 
snow. Bullets began to shower around us. We let 
loose our holds and dodged behind rocks. When the 
firing quieted, we crept out and again got him. My 
brother just then called out to me: "Wooden Leg, 

291 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

come, we are going away from here." I let loose 
again and went to my brother. The two Sioux con- 
tinued to drag Big Crow. 

The Indians moved back and forth, down and up, 
fighting the soldiers at different times all day. After 
darkness came, the fighting stopped. The group 
where I was built a little fire, so we might warm our- 
selves. As soon as the light of it showed, the bullets 
began to sing over our heads. We quickly threw 
snow upon the fire. Then we moved to another place. 
I got down where I had left my horse. It was still 
there. I mounted and joined my friends. All of the 
Indians left there during the night. Some of the 
Ogallalas already had gone on up Hanging Woman 
creek. Chiefs Crazy Horse and Water All Gone, with 
many lodges of their people, attached themselves to 
the Cheyennes. We went up Tongue river. We 
traveled all night and all the next day before we 
stopped to camp. 

We did not know where these soldiers had come 
from.* We did not know either how far they might 
follow us. But our scouts remaining behind saw 
them go back down Tongue river. At the camp, Big 
Crow's relatives went about inquiring for him. I 

* These soldiers were commanded by Colonel Nelson A. Miles. They 
had come from Fort Keogh, which he had established on the Yellow- 
stone just above the mouth of Tongue river. This fight was on 
January I, 1877. T. B. M. 

292 



ROVINGS AFTER THE VICTORY 

told where I last had seen him. Finally, they found 
the two Sioux who had been with him when I left 
him. These men said he was dead. That was our 
one man lost in the battle. Two Sioux were killed. 

The missing Cheyennes were: Sweet Woman, an 
old woman, age fifty or older. Lame White Man's 
widow and her two girls. Little Chief's wife, their 
girl and their boy. My sister Crooked Nose, past 
twenty-one years old. A boy belonging to some other 
family. There were four women and five children. 
These were said to be in one group together, and all 
were captured by the soldiers. We were not sure, 
though, but some of them or all of them might have 
been wounded or killed. 

The Cheyennes and the few Ogallalas now with us 
traveled far up Tongue river. We found plenty of 
buffalo there. We went on west to the upper Little 
Bighorn. After camping and hunting there, we went 
farther west to the Bighorn at the mouth of Rotten 
Grass creek. We did not stay here long. We re- 
turned to the Little Bighorn. Most of the last part 
of the winter was spent in camp on this valley. All 
of the time during the next few months we had good 
hunting. Soldiers did not trouble us nor we did not 
trouble them. 

Almost the entire Northern Cheyenne tribe was in 
this winter camp on the upper Little Bighorn. Little 

293 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

Wolf, Dull Knife, Dirty Moccasins and Old Bear, our 
four old men chiefs, were here. Charcoal Bear, the 
medicine chief, had kept possession of the sacred 
buffalo head through all of our distress. We had 
now as good a medicine lodge for it as we ordinarily 
had. This lodge was at its usual place at the back part 
of the space within our horseshoe camp circle. All 
of the people had good lodges. In every way we were 
living yet according to our customary habits. We 
were not bothering any white people. We did not 
want to see any of them. We felt we were on our 
own land. We had killed only such people as had 
come for driving us away from it. So, our hearts 
were clean from any feeling of guilt. 



294 



XII 

Surrender of the Cheyennes. 

Just before the grass began to show itself in the 
early part of the spring, two visitors arrived at our 
camp on the Little Bighorn. One of these was our 
captured old woman, Sweet Woman. The other was 
a half-breed Sioux we called White.* Each had a 
horse to ride and each was leading a pack horse. In 
their packs were tobacco and other things, for gifts 
to the principal chiefs. The visitors said they had 
been sent out from the soldier fort at the mouth of 
Tongue river, to invite us to come there and surrender 
peaceably. They brought a promise from Bear 
Coat,** the soldier chief there, that we should not 
be harmed and should be given plenty of food. 

Sweet Woman told us all of the captives were well. 
She said they had been treated well, that they had a 
lodge for themselves and that Bear Coat had a soldier 
guard near their lodge at all times to keep other sol- 
diers from bothering them. This Sweet Woman was 
a sister of White Bull's wife. She was a widow. Her 
husband had been dead many years. He had been 

* Bruyere, a Frenchman-Sioux scout for Miles. 
** The Cheyenne name for General Miles. 

295 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

a black man, and the name for him was Black Man. 
As a boy he had been captured by the Cheyennes. 
She was a tall and thin woman, but she was healthy. 

Our chiefs counciled about this proposal. It was 
decided quickly that we might as well go in that di- 
rection. The final decision could be made at some 
other place. We moved then eastward by camps and 
sleeps of one night each. We stopped one night at 
the mouth of Hanging Woman creek, where we had 
fought the soldiers in the middle of* the winter before. 
Some other young men and I climbed up among the 
rocks where we had fought. We searched for Big 
Crow's body. We found it. It was lying with the 
back partly propped up against a bush in a thin group 
of small pines. The right hand was up and behind 
the head. The left hand was over the breast. We 
could not decide whether he had been dead when left 
there or had put himself into this position and had 
frozen to death. We stretched out the dead man arid 
covered him with stones. His people felt better when 
we told them what we had done. 

The half-breed Sioux traveled with us to Tongue 
river. Some of the chiefs decided to go with him to 
the soldier fort and find out what might happen to 
the Cheyennes if all should go there. They left us 
and went down the valley. The Cheyennes going on 
this journey of peacemaking were: Old Wolf and 

296 



SURRENDER OF THE CHEYENNES 

Crazy Head, tribal big chiefs. Little Creek and Two 
Moons, little chiefs of the Crazy Dog and Fox war- 
rior societies. White Bull, a medicine man but not a 
chief. The Elk warriors did not send any chief. 

The tribe and the Ogallalas with us kept on mov- 
ing eastward. At Powder river it was decided to 
wait for the return of the chiefs who had gone to the 
fort. The Ogallalas with us separated from us and 
traveled on. Most of them said they were going to 
the agency. A little band of them went down Powder 
river. All of the Cheyennes remained in tribal circle 
camp on the west side of Powder river, above the 
mouth of Little Powder river, only a short distance 
above the place where we had been burned out a year 
before this time. 

The four chiefs came back to us at this Powder 
river camp. White Bull was not with them. They 
told us he had stayed with the soldiers, to scout for 
them in hunting for Indians. This news did not 
please us. As we looked at it, the surrendering to 
the soldiers was good if one felt like doing this. But 
an offer to help them to kill friends showed a bad 
heart. 

I was affected more, though, by other news the 
chiefs brought. It was concerning my sister Crooked 
Nose, one of the captives. When the chiefs were 
only a part of the first day out in coming back from 

297 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

the fort, somebody followed them to tell them about 
her. She had been very sad in heart because of a 
belief she never again would see her people. She 
had felt better when the chiefs came, but when they 
went away again she fell into deep grief. Her sorrow 
was so great that she got out her hidden six-shooter 
I had given to her and shot herself dead. My heart 
almost stopped beating when I heard about her death 
in this way. She had been a good sister, kind to 
everybody. 

Seven Cheyennes from the agency came to the 
camp on Powder river. They had one tepee lodge 
but no women were with them. They came only to 
tell us we ought to surrender at the agency. They 
said all of the Indians there were being fed well, were 
being treated well in every way. Nobody was being 
punished in any manner for past conduct in warfare 
against the soldiers. To my father and to most of 
the Cheyennes this sounded more attractive than the 
invitation to go to the Elk river fort.* Our people 
were better acquainted with conditions at the agency. 
Besides, the Ogallalas had the same agency with us, 
so these people also would be there. Our old men 
counciled about whether the tribe should surrender. 
And, if so, where they should go. It was decided to 
let every Cheyenne choose for himself. 

*Fort Keogh, at the mouth of Tongue river. 

298 



SURRENDER OF THE CHEYENNES 

Little Wolf and the other principal chiefs chose to 
go to the agenc^. Charcoal Bear, the medicine chief, 
said the sacred buffalo head and the medicine lodge 
should follow them. Their choice influenced the 
course of most of the tribe. My father said we ought 
to go with them. For two or three days, I believe, 
the chiefs and the people talked about the matter. 
Finally, the main body of the tribe set off toward the 
agency. A smaller part of it determined to go to the 
Elk river soldier fort. These were convinced by Two 
Moons and White Bull's relatives that they would 
receive better treatment there. 

But not all of the Cheyennes were ready yet to 
surrender at any place. Fourteen or fifteen men, six 
or seven of them having wives and children, separated 
off to go westward. White Hawk, a little chief of the 
Elk warriors, was with them. They said they were 
going to join the Minneconjoux Sioux, who then were 
in camp on Rosebud creek or on a branch of it that 
afterward was called Lame Deer creek. The prin- 
cipal chief of these Minneconjoux Sioux was Lame 
Deer. 

I joined another band still desiring most the free- 
dom we considered to be ours by right. Thirty-four 
Cheyennes made up this band. Last Bull, leading 
chief of the Fox warrior society, was the big man of 
our party. His warrior followers at this time were 

299 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

from all three of the societies. The people making 
up this group of further hunters were these: 

Last Bull, his wife and two daughters. 

Many-Colored Braids, his wife, two daughters and 
a son. 

Little Horse, his wife, two daughters and a son. 

Black Coyote, his wife and small daughter. 

Dog Growing Up, his wife and one small boy. 

Fire Wolf, Yellow Eagle, Spotted Wolf, Chief 
Going Up a Hill, White Bird, Buffalo Paunch, Big 
Nose, Meat, Medicine Wolf, Horse Road, Little 
Shield, Yellow Horse, my brother Yellow Hair and 
myself Wooden Leg. All of these were unmarried 
young men. 

Five tepee lodges were taken along and set up at 
each camping place, by the wives of the five married 
men. The unmarried young men slept mostly un- 
sheltered, or at each camping they made for them- 
selves little willow or tree branch lodges. They did 
their own cooking, most of the time, but often some 
young man would give a part of his meat to some 
woman as payment to her for cooking his meat for 
him. I dwelt all the time in the lodge of Last Bull, 
as a member of his family. He felt very friendly to 
me because of my having helped his wife and children 
at the time the soldiers came to the Cheyenne camp 
the year before, on Powder river. 

300 



SURRENDER OF THE CHEYENNES 

Every man in this band had a good gun of some 
kind. I had my rifle taken from the soldier. I had 
not used up much of the ammunition I had found on 
the battle grounds at that time and afterward. I did 
not do any more shooting than was necessary in get- 
ting plenty of meat. I was saving my cartridges for 
fighting whatever soldiers might come. 

We traveled and hunted all about the country on 
the upper Powder river and the upper Tongue river. 
We had to be moving often, because game was not 
plentiful. Every day scouts were out trying to locate 
buffalo. All of the time they were on the lookout too 
for soldiers or for Crows or Shoshones. We were not 
loafing idly. We were working and earning our 
living. 

A baby boy was born to the wife of Black Coyote at 
one of the camps. The wife of Many-Colored Braids 
took care of her, as medicine woman. As we moved 
from place to place, the young woman and her baby 
were put into a travois bed. The other women helped 
in taking down and setting up her lodge. Her per- 
sonal name was Calf Road. She was specially famous 
because she had fought as a warrior with her husband 
Black Coyote at the battle with the soldiers on the 
upper Rosebud. Now there were thirty-five people 
in our band. 

I was sent alone from this band one time to scout 

301 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

for buffalo. I took with me a pack horse to bring 
back whatever meat I might get. I had on the led 
horse a soldier pack saddle belonging to Last Bull. 
I stayed out three sleeps. I saw a few deer and ante- 
lope but no buffalo. 

We were having a good many days of hunger. Our 
horses had plenty of grass, but our own ribs were be- 
coming thin. Our clothing was wearing out, and we 
could not get enough of skins to renew them and to 
keep our beds and our lodges in good order. My sol- 
dier coat and breeches were gone, and my last shirt 
and cloth breeches were almost in tatters. The only 
good article of wear I had now was my big white hat 
I had captured at the Rosebud battle. 

A Cheyenne named Yellow Eagle added himself to 
us. He had been at the agency not long before. We 
decided to have him and White Bird go there to- 
gether and spy out the conditions. They went. In 
a week or so they were back among us. 

"Good treatment, plenty of food, blankets, every- 
thing, nobody punished," they reported. 

We started right away for the agency. But not all 
of us yet were ready to go there. Medicine Wolf, 
Growing Dog, Meat and my brother Yellow Hair said 
they were going to stay out hunting. They said 
it would not be long before lots of Indians would be 
back out here, the same as had been here during the 

302 



SURRENDER OF THE CHEYENNES 

year before. I was almost persuaded to remain with 
them, but Last Bull said he now was convinced the 
Indians would not come back to this country. So I 
kept with the main part of our band. We traveled 
southeastward toward the White River agency of the 
Cheyennes and the Ogallalas. 

At a white man house far along our way we stopped 
to see if the people there might give us some food. 
The only people there were two white men. They 
acted as if they were badly frightened, but we made 
peace signs to them, and only two of us went to their 
door. We made signs that our Indians all were very 
hungry, and we asked them for something to eat. 
They gave us a little beef meat and some sugar and 
coffee. We were glad to get this, and we told them 
our hearts were good toward them. 

Three strange Indians on horseback approached us 
from our front as we arrived about a day's journey 
from the agency. We could see they were Indians, 
but they had on soldier clothing. This alarmed us. 
All of our men cocked their guns and went out in 
front of the women and children. We watched and 
waited. The three Indians stopped. At a distance 
they made signs to us. They told us they were sol- 
dier scouts come out to help us find our way to the 
agency. We allowed them to join us and remain with 
us the remainder of the way. One of them was a 

303 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

Cheyenne, another was a Sioux, the third was a Chey- 
enne-Sioux named Fire Crow. 

It made all of us feel good to see the hundreds of 
Indian lodges as we came near to the agency.* We 
galloped our horses forward. We cheered and fired 
gunshots into the air. Some soldiers came running 
out from their tents, but they soon saw we were 
friendly and were only celebrating and notifying our 
people we had come. We saw great camps of Arapa- 
hoes and Ogallalas as well as the tribal camp circle 
of our own Cheyennes. Many soldiers also were 
there, in their own separate camp. Several of the 
soldier chiefs came and shook hands with our men 
and said, "How." One of these soldier chiefs we 
specially liked. We learned from a Cheyenne his 
name among the Indians was White Hat.** He could 
make good signtalk. It appeared he understood In- 
dians better than any white man soldier I ever had 
seen. I suppose that was why we liked him. 

A white man married to a Cheyenne woman was 
acting as interpreter for the soldiers. His name was 
Rowland. But White Hat did not need any inter- 
preter in talking to us, he could make the signtalk so 
well. After the general handshaking, White Hat 
said: 

* White River agency, Fort Robinson, Nebraska. 
** Lieutenant W. P. Clark, who wrote a book on sign language. 

304 



SURRENDER OF THE CHEYENNES 

"Now, you men must give to me your guns and 
your horses." 

We were not expecting this, but we trusted him, so 
we began to do as he had asked. But Black Coyote 
jumped back and said he would not give up his gun. 
He cocked it and stood there. He was much excited. 
Just then three Sioux dressed in soldier clothing 
came riding toward us. Black Coyote aimed his gun 
at them. Last Bull pushed the gun aside and said: 

"Don't shoot. You are crazy." 

He talked to Black Coyote, telling him that a shot 
just now might cause all of us to get killed. White 
Hat motioned the three Sioux to go away, and they 
did so. Black Coyote then quieted down. He gave 
his gun to Last Bull, and this leader gave it to a sol- 
dier with White Hat. I was the only one among us 
having a gun captured from the soldiers at the battle 
on the Little Bighorn. When I handed it to a soldier 
he gave it to White Hat. White Hat examined it with 
apparent great interest. He then called other soldier 
chiefs to look. Finally he asked me: 

"Where did you get this gun?" 

I did not answer him at once. He asked me again, 
making signs so clear that I could not help but make 
some kind of answer. I told him the truth. I showed 
him just how I had seized it and wrenched it away 
from a soldier riding toward the river during the first 

305 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

part of the great battle a year before this time. The 
way they talked about it, it appeared the Indians had 
not been giving them these guns taken from the sol- 
diers. After a little while, White Hat shook hands 
again with me and made signs to me: "You are a 
brave man. Do not be afraid any soldier will want to 
kill you." 

The next morning all of us went to the agency 
buildings for gifts we had been told would be there 
for us. Wagons came with the presents. They were 
unloaded in piles. Blankets, clothing and different 
kinds of food were in the piles. Two of our people 
were appointed to divide up and distribute the articles 
among all of us. Our hearts now were glad. It 
seemed good to be here with plenty and not be in 
fear of soldiers. 

I received other gifts. An Ogallala Sioux pre- 
sented me with a medicine pipe, the first one I had 
owned since the loss of mine when the soldiers burned 
out our forty lodges on lower Powder river. A Chey- 
enne young man gave me a wad of paper money like 
I had seen at the time of the great battle. He said: 
"You can buy things at the trader's store with this 
paper." I put it into my pocket. After a while I 
got a Sioux young man friend to go with me tp the 
agency trader's store. I took out my money and 

306 



SURRENDER OF THE CHEYENNES 

gave it all to the trader. He counted it over and over. 
Then he asked me, in Sioux speech: 

"Where did you get all of this money?" 

My Sioux friend quickly answered: 

"He got it from Custer." 

The trader said to me: 

"The soldiers are going to hang you." This 
startled me at first, but both he and my Sioux friend 
laughed, so I knew he was only joking. 

"Now, what all do you want?" the trader asked, 
after they had joked me a little while. 

I got first a red and yellow shirt. Then I got some 
breeches that fitted me much better than the pair 
that had been given to me by the agency people. I 
picked out a fine red blanket, a hat and a big silk 
scarf. I got plenty of tobacco. I bought coffee, 
sugar, meat and other things. I did not want all of 
the goods I bought, but the trader kept telling me of 
what I ought to have. After each time he brought me 
what I asked for, he took from the money some part 
of it. Then he would ask: 

"And what else?" 

I did not know how much the different articles were 
worth. I kept on choosing some other until finally 
the trader said: 

"Your money is all gone." 

My friend helped me to carry all of my property to 

307 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

my home lodge. I wore the new hat just bought. 
But I took along the old white hat I had captured 
from the soldiers. I gave this old one to my father. 
He was much pleased to get it. It was the first white 
man hat he ever owned. He threw away then the 
old Indian buffalo hat he had been wearing. 

Some of the Cheyennes who had gone to the Elk 
river soldier fort were here now. They had been 
sent here by the soldiers. Other Cheyennes had 
stayed at that fort, the men joining the soldiers as 
scouts for them. All of these Cheyennes brought 
here were dwelling in soldier tents. Many other In- 
dians, Cheyennes, Ogallalas and Arapahoes, also had 
the soldier tents. These were larger than most of 
the Indian tepees then in use. The tepees were 
smaller than usual because only a few buffalo skins 
had been taken during this summer. 

There was some dissatisfaction among the Chey- 
ennes on account of talk of them being taken to the 
South. The agent and the soldier chiefs had said we 
ought to go there and be joined as one tribe with the 
Southern Cheyennes. Our people did not like this 
talk. All of us wanted to stay in this country near 
the Black Hills. But we had one big chief, Standing 
Elk, who kept saying it would be better if we should 
go there. I think there were not as many as ten 
Cheyennes in our whole tribe who agreed with him. 

308 



SURRENDER OF THE CHEYENNES 

There was a feeling that he was talking this way only 
to make himself a big Indian among the white people. 
The white men chiefs would not talk much to any 
Cheyenne chief but him. They gave him extra pres- 
ents and treated him as if he were the only chief in 
the tribe, when he was but one of our forty tribal big 
chiefs. One day he went about telling everybody: 

"All get ready to move. The soldiers are going 
to take us from here tomorrow.'* 

Lots of Cheyennes were angry. We had under- 
stood that when we surrendered we were to live on 
our same White River reservation. We had given 
up our guns and our horses and had quit fighting be- 
cause of this promise. Now, after we had put our- 
selves at this great disadvantage, the promise was to 
be broken. But we could not do anything except 
obey him. So, three sleeps after my small band had 
come to what we thought was to be our home, the 
whole tribe was on its way to what we now call 
Oklahoma. 



309 



XIII 

Taken to the South. 

The soldier leader of our movement to the South 
was known to us as Tall White Man. He was a good 
man, always kind to the Indians. We had to do what- 
ever he said we must do, but he talked good to our 
chiefs, so all of us were pleased to have him guiding 
us. He had with him a band of soldiers. I do not 
know how many, but I think there may have been al- 
most a hundred of them. 

Our horses that had been taken away from us at 
the agency were now returned to us. Still, many 
Cheyennes did not own any. Old people who had no 
animal to ride were provided with them from the 
soldier herd. Or, very old or sick people were 
allowed to ride in the soldier wagons. Young men 
who owned no horses had to walk or borrow from 
friends. I owned four. I had three of them loaned 
out most of the time. 

Soldier tents were used by the Indians as well as 
by the soldiers. I think the Indians had a few canvas 
cone tepees, but I do not remember seeing among us 
any buffalo skin lodges. We had not killed for a 
long time enough buffaloes to renew the old dwelling 

310 



TAKEN TO THE SOUTH 

shelters we liked so well. Wagons were used to haul 
the tents. Other wagons were loaded with bread, 
crackers, coffee, sugar and other food. Every day, 
rations were issued to all of the soldiers and all of the 
Indians.* 

A drove of cattle was kept moving along behind us. 
Some of them were butchered every day for meat. 
This was good, but the Indians liked better the wild 
meat when it could be found. Our chiefs talked to 
Tall White Man about this. He listened to their 
talk. He said it was good. He told them how it 
would be arranged for some of the Indians to hunt 
along the way. 

Thirty men, ten from each of the three warrior 
societies, were chosen by our warrior chiefs to do 
the hunting. Each of these thirty was given a rifle. 
At every time of hunting, each of them was allowed 
to have five cartridges for his gun. Other Indians 
were allowed also to hunt, but they had to use the 
bows and arrows or whatever else they might have 
for use. A few took out guns they had kept hidden 
when we had surrendered at the agency, but they had 
to be sly about this so the soldiers would not find out 
about them. 

We traveled slowly and camped often, so there 

*The movement to the South began in early May, 1877. Seventy 
days were spent in the journey. T. B. M. 

311 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

was plenty of time for hunting at distances from the 
moving people.. The soldiers went always ahead. 
The Indians followed them. The wagons came be- 
hind the Indians. The drove of cattle were last. We 
kept mostly along the old trails of the Cheyennes as 
they had gone back and forth between the Black Hills 
and the South. These were across the high lands at 
the headwaters of the rivers. Not yet were many 
white people living here. 

Buffalo and antelope were plentiful. There were 
a few deer, but no elk. I rode out at times with the 
hunters, but I had neither gun nor bow and arrows. 
I could do nothing but look on and wish I could do 
some killing. I knew of one certain Cheyenne who 
had a rifle hidden. One night in camp I said to him: 

"I see every day lots of antelope. Let me take 
your gun tomorrow." 

I killed a buffalo the next day with his gun. I 
killed also two antelope. I gave him half of the 
meat. Both of us had plenty to distribute among our 
friends. The soldiers never knew anything about it. 
Or, none of them said anything to me. 

Soldiers hunted with the Indians. All of the sol- 
diers were friendly and good to us. They were good 
shooters and they killed lots of game. They gave us 
most of the meat. I became specially friendly with 
two or three of them. I liked to be with them, and 

312 



TAKEN TO THE SOUTH 

they appeared to like me. I went at times to their 
camp in the evening and visited with them. When 
we were about half along our journey I asked one of 
them: 

"Let me take your gun tomorrow." 

"Yes, you may take it," he told me. 

He let me have five cartridges when I got the gun 
the next morning. Oh, how good I felt on horse- 
hack, having a good rifle, and after buffalo! I killed 
one and brought in the best parts of its meat. I gave 
the soldier his choice of it and all he wanted, when I 
returned his gun that night in camp. 

Either a rifle or a six shooter was loaned to me for 
a day at other later times. Each time, with the rifle 
came five cartridges. Each time, with the six shooter 
came six loads for it. Each time, I returned the 
borrowed gun at the night camp and gave the friendly 
soldier whatever meat he might want. Most of them 
did not want much of it, so I had at all times plenty 
of the food we liked most, for our family group and 
for our friends who might need it. 

We camped near one certain big town far along on 
our journey. None of us were allowed to go into the 
town, but I went walking all about the outside of 
it to look at it. As I walked I found a big piece of 
wood that I wanted. I had seen at past times this 
same kind of wood, and I knew its usefulness to us. 

313 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

It was the heavy piece that lays across the necks of 
cattle when they draw a wagon. The Indians liked 
to get these, because they made the best kind of bows 
and arrows. I picked it up and lifted it over a 
shoulder I went right away to my home tent lodge. 

I made a good bow. My mother had in her packs 
some dried sinew from buffalo back tendons. This 
I used to string my bow. I made then ten arrows. 
I got here and there some pieces of metal for the 
points. My mother made a pouch for the bow and 
arrows. She made it of a calfskin she had tanned as 
we were moving. I was glad now, with the full 
pouch slung from my shoulder and dangling at my 
left side. Two days I spent most of our camping 
time at this work. 

On the first day out with my new bow and arrows 
I killed a buffalo. I could have killed more, but I 
did not want any more. There were not so many of 
them here as we had found farther north, but we still 
were finding a few. There were yet plenty of ante- 
lope feeding out on the rolling hills and level lands. 
An antelope, though, is hard to hit with arrows. It 
can run fast and can dodge quickly. Still, if one be 
chased a long time it becomes tired. Any ordinary 
horse then can catch up with it. It is easy enough 
then to shoot arrows into its body. One arrow often 
is enough to kill it. I killed several of them, as many 

314 



TAKEN TO THE SOUTH 

as I wanted to kill, while we were going on our way. 
I killed also a few more buffalo. 

One sleep before we got to the Southern Chey- 
enne agency we had some special doings. The agent 
there came out to see us. He had with him a half- 
breed Cheyenne as interpreter. They went to every 
tent of the Indians. At each place the interpreter 
asked the names and he wrote them on paper. We 
were in camp beside a soldier fort. That evening I 
saw some of the soldiers there trying to rope loose 
horses. I went to them and asked them to let me try 
it. They did. I could loop the lariat noose over a 
running horse almost every time I tried. The sol- 
diers cheered. They were very friendly to me. 

The thirty Cheyennes who had been allowed to 
have soldier guns for hunting were told now they 
must give back these guns. But Little Wolf and 
Standing Elk talked to Tall White Man about this. 
They said: "Let us keep these guns for hunting, or 
we might need them for protecting ourselves." But 
the good soldier chief replied: "No, I cannot do that. 
They must be returned to us." Others of our chiefs 
joined Little Wolf and Standing Elk. Tall White 
Man sat in a long council with them. Finally, he 
agreed: 

"Yes, the Cheyennes may keep the few guns they 
have." 

315 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

I learned in the South the white man name of 
Long Hair, the soldier big chief we had killed on 
the Little Bighorn. I was told he was called Gen- 
eral Custer. I had heard this name spoken at the 
White River agency, but I did not understand clearly 
who was meant by it. The Southern Cheyennes 
knew of him because of his having fought against 
them before he had come into our northern country. 
They had surrendered to him. 

A few of our Northern Cheyennes had not yet 
joined us before we left the White River agency, 
at the North. Or, some of these fled from us as 
soon as it was decided we must go to the South. My 
brother Yellow Hair had not yet come in to sur- 
render. He stayed hunting or he went to the Ogal- 
lalas. Not long after we became settled in the new 
home the news came to us that he had been killed. 
He was hunting on Crow creek, a stream flowing 
into the east side of upper Tongue river, when some 
white men not soldiers shot him. Our family now 
was made up of my father and mother, myself * my 
younger sister and the small boy brother. 

My first shoes were given to me at the southern 
agency. They were too big, but I wore them a part 
of the time. All of my life before this, I had 4orn 
only the moccasins made by Indians. I yet liked 

316 



TAKEN TO THE SOUTH 

best the moccasins, but we did not have skins enough 
to make all of them we needed. 

I did some hunting in the southern country. But 
the hunting was not for the large food game animals. 
Very few of these got on the reservation, and we 
were not allowed to go off the reservation for hunt- 
ing. So, my searching for something to shoot at with 
bow and arrows or with gun was for whatever small 
game could be found there. 

On one certain bow and arrow hunt I was afoot 
and alone. The weather was hot. I was tired and 
sweating. I went to the shade of two big trees. As 
I rested there, a fluttering noise attracted my at- 
tention to the tops of two trees. I looked. There 
sat an eagle perched high up. I aimed an arrow 
and shot. No harm done. I drew out another ar- 
row and fitted it to my bowstring. I aimed more 
carefully this time. In a moment after the second 
shot, the eagle fluttered and tumbled to the ground 
out a little distance from the trees. I ran out there. 
The big bird flopped and hobbled along away from 
me. Before I could get hold of it the eagle had 
lifted itself into the air. It flew on and up, farther 
and higher. I watched it until it was gone entirely 
from my view. 

I learned how to hunt specially for eagles. Their 

317 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

regular sleeping places were at the tops of big trees. 
I would go out on horseback and locate myself un- 
der a big tree just as darkness was about to come. 
One night I sat under a tree waiting. I had both 
a rifle and a six shooter. Two eagles came. I shot 
and killed one with the rifle. I jerked out the six 
shooter and fired at the other one. It too tumbled 
down dead. That was good shooting, considering 
that the light was dim. But always in shooting eagles 
at night the dark body against the sky made a good 
enough target. 

On another eagle hunt at night, when I shot up 
into the tree the eagle fell to the ground wounded 
but not dead. It lay there moving about a little but 
not much. I ran to it and seized it, to hold it while 
I might beat it with the handle of my pony whip. 
It grasped in its two taloned feet my left forearm 
and my right thigh just above the knee. I struck it 
with the whip handle, but this only made it sink 
the talons in more deeply. I had to pry them loose. 
Then I beat it to death. I still own and make regular 
use of a fan made from a wing of that eagle. 

I shot one certain eagle in a tree above my head 
one night. Right after I fired the shot it tumbled. 
But it did not fall to the ground. I looked up among 
the branches, but I could not see it. I began to look 
about me on the ground. Just then a heavy thump 

318 



TAKEN TO THE SOUTH 

on top of my head almost knocked me down. The 
eagle had lodged somewhere and then had fallen. 
It seized my hat in its talons and bounced off my 
head to the ground. There I killed it with my six 
shooter. 

One night, as I stood watching under a tree I saw 
something moving along on a branch high up. It 
did not appear to be an eagle, but when it stopped on 
the branch I aimed my rifle and fired. It dropped 
straight down and plumped hard upon the ground. 
It was dead. It was to me a strange animal. It 
looked somewhat like the badgers of the northern 
country, except this animal I had killed was smaller. 
I "remembered, too, that badgers do not live in trees. 
When I took it to the home lodge I found out what 
it was. The white people call this kind of animal a 
coon. I afterward saw others. I saw also what the 
white people call possums. We ate these little ani- 
mals when we could get them. 

The tallest Indian I ever saw was a Southern Chey- 
enne young woman. I first saw her at one of our 
Omaha dances. I stood beside her, for measurement. 
The top of my head came just above the level of her 
shoulders. She was extremely slender and she stood 
up straight, not stooping. Her name was Slit Eyes. 
I did not see her father, but I saw her mother. The 
mother was a short woman. This very tall young 

319 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

woman died when she was about twenty years old. 

After we had been a year on this reservation, many 
of our people began to ask to be taken back to the 
North. There was no game here, we were not al- 
lowed to go off the reservation for hunting, and we 
were not given food as it had been promised we 
should be given. At times, some of our young men 
would violate the orders and would slip away from 
the reservation to get a buffalo or some other animal 
good to eat. Some white people said the Indians were 
killing their cattle. I do not know. I did not do 
this. I stayed all the time on the reservation. But 
if any Indians did kill the white men cattle they 
did so because they were very hungry and could not 
find any wild game. We ate the beef because it was 
the best we could get. We always liked better the 
wild game. 

There was much sickness among the Northern 
Cheyennes. To us it was a new kind of sickness. 
Chills and fever and aching of the bones dragged 
down most of us to thin and weak bodies. Our peo- 
ple died, died, died, kept following one another out 
of this world. Finally, Chief Little Wolf declared 
that he for one was going to move back North, 
whether the white people consented or not. Others 
said they would follow him. The agent told them 
that soldiers would go on their trail and would kill 

320 



TAKEN TO THE SOUTH 

them. They were promised more food. They waited 
for it, but it did not come. More people flocked to 
Little Wolf's side. Dull Knife said he too would 
go. Late in the summer, more than half of the tribe 
started out. Little Wolfs last message to the 
agent was: 

"The soldiers may kill all of us, but they cannot 
make us stay in this country." 

Soldiers went after them. Other soldiers from 
other places were sent out to head them off. The 
Cheyennes were hunted from all directions. They 
were found many times, but each time the Cheyennes 
fought off their pursuers and kept on going north- 
ward. Many of our people were killed, but the most 
of them got back to their old home country and 
were allowed to stay there. 

My father and I considered joining Little Wolf. 
But we had managed in one way and another to keep 
our family from starving, and we believed that after 
a while the food would be more plentiful. Some 
of us had been sick at times, but none of us yet had 
come near to death. We sympathized fully with our 
deceived and suffering people, and both of us had 
a high admiration for Little Wolf. But we settled 
our minds to stay here and keep out of trouble. 

From the Southern Cheyennes I learned a great 
deal about General Crater's dealing with them in that 

321 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

country. All of them said he had smoked the peace 
pipe with them at the time they had surrendered to 
him, seven years before he was killed. According 
to the custom among us, this was understood as a 
promise by him that never again would he fight 
against the Cheyennes. When they learned that he 
had been killed by our people and the Sioux, they 
considered him as having deserved that kind of death, 
on account of his failure to keep his peace pipe oath. 

They told us also about the band of Southern 
Cheyennes who started out for the North, to join us, 
during the summer when we fought the great battle. 
Their medicine man chief was with the band, and 
he had the tribal medicine arrows and its tepee with 
him. Soldiers got after them. The medicine man 
chief and his wife separated themselves in the scat- 
tering flight from the soldiers, each of the two taking 
two of the four sacred arrows. After a few days the 
band all got together again, on upper Powder river. 
But there were so many soldiers in the country that 
they decided to go back to the South. 

An assemblage of army officers asked me to tell 
them about the Custer battle. When they sent for 
me my heart said thump thump thump. I was 
afraid they might hang me. I went, but I told only a 
little. They asked for more talk. They assured me 
their hearts were good toward me. They gave me 

322 



TAKEN TO THE SOUTH 

lots of money, about five dollars, I believe. Good! 
My heart quit thumping. I told them all they asked, 
answering many questions. Some things I kept to 
myself, but all that I told them was true. 

I got a wife from the Southern Cheyennes. She 
was my same age, twenty years old. All of my people 
and all of her people appeared to be pleased at 
our marriage. They gave us presents and we set 
up our own lodge. She had been a girl in the Chey- 
enne camp at the Washita river when Custer and his 
soldiers came there and killed many Cheyennes and 
burned their lodges (November, 1868). Chief 
Black Pot was one of the killed. 

The women and children fled, the same as ours 
had done at the Powder river. It was winter, and 
there was at that time a deep snow for that country. 
Soldiers chased the women and children and killed 
many of them as well as the men. My wife, at that 
time a girl, was barefooted, as others also were. They 
had been surprised early in the morning. She 
stopped and cut off pieces of buffalo robe to tie about 
her feet, to keep them warm as she ran. They went 
to a camp of Snake Indians (Comanches), farther 
down the river. 

My wife told me she also was with the Cheyennes 
when they surrendered to General Custer (1869) 
after he had smoked the pipe with their chiefs. When 

323 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

they surrendered, some of the chiefs were put into 
prison and had chains put upon their ankles. When 
I heard all of this from my wife, as well from many 
others of the Southern Cheyennes, it seemed the 
Great Medicine may have directed Custer to his death, 
as a punishment for having broken his promise to 
the Cheyennes. 

When I had been six years in the South, the North- 
ern Cheyennes were told they might go back now 
to their old country. The Little Wolf people had 
been given lands on the Rosebud and Tongue rivers. 
We could go to them or back to the White river, 
where the agency had become known as Pine Ridge. 

My father had died while we were in the land of 
the southern Indians. My wife and myself, my 
mother and her two remaining children all agreed 
we would move. A few of our tribal people decided 
to remain as members of the Southern Cheyenne 
tribe. We who left them went first to Pine Ridge. 
After not a very long stay there we were located in 
a region I always liked, the Tongue river country 
in Montana. 



324 



XIV 
Home Again on Tongue River. 

Many changes had taken place in the affairs of 
our tribe when I got back among the principal body 
of them in Montana. Most of the men who had 
surrendered at Fort Keogh went into service there 
as scouts for the soldiers of General Miles, whose 
Indian name was Bear Coat. They had many stories 
to tell of these experiences. They helped in finding 
and in fighting some bands of our old friends the 
Sioux, who remained hunting through the country 
after we had gone from it. I did not like to hear 
these stories. I could not help but think these tribes- 
men of mine had done wrong in this kind of war- 
fare. That was the way the Pawnees, Crows and 
Shoshones had done in past times, and we had been 
enemies to them because of their having done so. 
There came into my heart thoughts that possibly the 
death of my own brother Yellow Hair had been 
brought about by reason of some Cheyenne having 
guided the white men who killed him. 

The Nez Perces had come through the country 
soon after the part of our tribe had surrendered at 
the Elk river fort. The Cheyennes went with the 

325 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

soldiers to fight these other Indians. They had a 
battle far to the northward. Most of the Cheyennes 
were not in special danger during this battle, but 
two of them were said to have been very brave. These 
two were White Wolf and All See Him. White Wolf 
received a bullet wound across his scalp. He was 
stunned and he fell, but he was not killed. A Sioux 
scout dragged him into safety. The white soldiers 
gave money to the Sioux for his action. This was 
the same White Wolf who shot himself through the 
left thigh at our battle with the soldiers on the Rose- 
bud and had to lie in his bed while his companion 
warriors fought the soldiers. of Custer. All See Him 
had been a brave man in the Custer battle. He has 
another name, John Bighead Man. White Wolf also 
got another name after the Nez Perces bullet had hit 
him. His new name was Shot in the Head. 

Two Moons and White Moon were two Cheyenne 
scouts of that time who were not in the Nez Perces 
fight. They were out with some Cheyennes chasing 
buffalo as the soldier and Indian army traveled in 
their hunt for the Nez Perces. In the course of the 
chase Two Moons accidentally shot White Moon 
through the body. White Moon was entirely dis- 
abled, and Two Moons did not feel then like fight- 
ing anybody. He helped in taking care of White 

326 



HOME AGAIN ON TONGUE RIVER 

Moon, and he paid the Indian doctor a horse for 
curing him. 

People told me all about the journey of Little 
Wolf's band from the South, with the soldiers after 
them all along the way. They had come to Fort 
Keogh and had surrendered to General Miles. Many 
of their men also enlisted as scouts. The Cheyennes 
at this place stayed a part of the time about the fort 
and a part of the time were allowed to live on the 
Rosebud and the Tongue rivers, near the fort. These 
combined Fort Keogh Cheyennes had been the be- 
ginning of our Tongue River reservation. 

The Little Wolf people had some trouble among 
themselves on their Way from the southern country. 
One case was where a man who had become angered 
to craziness about something went at beating his 
whole family. He clubbed every one of them he 
could reach. All of them were put into an insane 
fright. An adult daughter, screaming and struggling 
to get away from him, stabbed him with her sheath- 
knife. He let loose of her, walked away staggering, 
and soon fell dead. The young woman was in great 
grief because of her having killed her own father. 
The chiefs and all of the people sympathized with 
her. She was not punished. That was the only case 
I ever knew of a Cheyenne woman having killed 
anyone. 

327 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

Black Coyote was the cause of one big trouble. 
He was the same man of our little band who was 
about to shoot when we were giving up our guns 
at the time of our surrender at the White River 
agency. At a camp east of Powder river, during the 
last part of this flight with the Little Wolf people, 
an old chief said to him: 

"Black Coyote, you have been riding during all 
of the journey. Many women are walking. You 
should let some one of them have your horse." 

"No, it is my horse, and I want to ride," Black 
Coyote answered. 

"But some of the women are old, and they are 
very tired," the chief persisted. 

"It is my horse, and I intend to ride it," the young 
man stubbornly responded. 

"Black Coyote, you are crazy." 

"No. You are the crazy one." 

The chief flourished his pony whip and lashed 
Black Coyote. He laid on stroke after stroke, many 
of them. The humiliated man humped his body and 
stubbornly hugged his rifle. He was sitting in front 
of his lodge. Suddenly he jumped up and ran away. 
A short distance off he turned and fired at the chief. 
The old man fell dead. 

Black Coyote ran on out of the camp. Some Chey- 
ennes shot at him, but he was not injured. He kept 

328 



HOME AGAIN ON TONGUE RIVER 

on going, and he never returned. His wife at once 
gathered a few of their belongings and followed out 
to join him. Her two children and an old woman 
went with her. Whetstone, another Cheyenne man, 
also left the camp and stayed away with the outcast 
people. 

The two men went, just after dark one night, to 
a camp on Powder river, where were a few soldiers 
having a Sergeant with them. The Indians said, 
"How," and approached the campfire in a friendly 
way. The soldiers were fearful and were on the look- 
out, but they replied, "How." After the Indians had 
warmed themselves a little, Black Coyote said: 

"Give us some bread." 

"How," the Sergeant answered, and he gave them 
bread. 

As the two walked away, for some reason Black 
Coyote jerked up his rifle and killed the Sergeant. 
Then they rushed off into the darkness. 

The soldiers took the body of their Sergeant and 
went to Fort Keogh. Soldiers and Cheyennes from 
there went out to search for the bad Indians. They 
captured them and brought them to the fort. The 
two men were put into jail with chains upon their 
ankles. A soldier chief known to the Cheyennes as 
Little Chief talked to them: 

"Did you kill the Sergeant?" he asked them. 

329 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

"No/ * they answered him. 

Hie next day Little Chief again asked them: "Did 
you kill the Sergeant?" Still they said: "No." 
After a few days, Black Coyote said: "Yes, I killed 
him." 

Both of the men were hanged. I was told their 
bodies were not taken by the Cheyennes, but were 
buried by the white people. The hanging was at 
Miles City, I believe. 

Black Coyote's wife, the woman warrior at the 
Rosebud battle, died while he was in jail. Chey- 
ennes made signs to him from a distance, through the 
jail windows, and told him she was sick. Every 
day he asked: "How is my wife today?" She was 
dying, but to cheer him they told him, "She is bet- 
ter now." When finally somebody told him she was 
dead, he went entirely crazy. He would take no food, 
and he fought every white man who came to him. 
He had to be beaten and tied first when they went to 
hang him. His relatives said it was her death that 
caused him to say he had killed the Sergeant. They 
say the Sergeant and the soldiers were trying to kill 
him at the time. But I know that Black Coyote was 
a very excitable man. Bad Indians like him made 
lots of trouble for the whole tribe. 

The most sorrowful new condition we found in 

330 



HOME AGAIN ON TONGUE RIVER 

coming back to our Cheyenne country was in the 
case of Little Wolf himself. Some white men about 
the fort were selling or giving whisky to the Indians. 
One night, Little Wolf got a bottle of whisky and 
right away he drank all of it. He went into the fort 
trader's store and leaned forward upon the counter. 
He was quiet, but he was dizzy and stumbling here 
and there. The trader said: "Little Wolf, you had 
better go to your lodge." But he said: "No, I want 
to stay here." 

Some Cheyenne men and women were playing 
cards at a table in the store. Famished Elk, a young 
man Sergeant of the scouts, was with them. He 
talked to Little Wolf. But the old chief paid no 
attention to his talk. Famished Elk took hold of 
Little Wolf's arm and said: "Come, I will help you 
to get to your lodge." He spoke and acted respect- 
fully, but Little Wolf was angered because of the 
taking hold of him. He pulled himself away. His 
eyes blazed like fire. He stood a moment looking at 
the young man. Then he said: 

"I will kill you." 

He staggered on alone out from the store. Fam- 
ished Elk returned to sit in the card game. Nobody 
was expecting any further trouble. But not long 
afterward the door was opened and Little Wolf stum- 

331 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

bled into the room. He straightened himself, leveled 
a rifle and fired. Famished Elk sank down dead upon 
the floor. 

The old chief went back to his lodge and told his 
two wives what he had done. "We must go/* he 
added. The three of them went out into the dark- 
ness of the night. Soldiers and Cheyennes searched 
for them. They searched during the next day and 
the next. The missing man and his two wives ap- 
peared in Miles City and sat themselves down at a 
place in plain view of the people there. A Captain 
and some soldiers went to him. This Captain we 
knew as Little Chief. He told Little Wolf what it 
was said he had done. He further told him: 

"You are no more chief of the Cheyennes." 

"That is true and just," Little Wolf agreed. 

All of the Cheyennes said: "How. It is right. 
Little Wolf shall be not any more a chief among 
us." But their hearts were sad, not angry, when they 
said this. He was not punished in any other way. 
But he further punished himself. Before he and 
his wives had left their lodge he smashed into pieces 
his medicine pipe. Our old tribal laws required this. 
It was allowable for him afterward to smoke alone 
any small and short-stemmed pipe, such as might be 
made from a deer leg bone. But he did not do this. 
He denied himself all smoking. He never made any 

332 



HOME AGAIN ON TONGUE RIVER 

offer even to sit in the company of other Cheyennes 
smoking together. White men sometimes offered 
him cigarettes, but he always refused them. After a 
time he learned to chew tobacco, a habit never fol- 
lowed by the old-time Cheyennes. It seemed he did 
this deliberately, for self-humiliation. He never tried 
to intrude himself into any tribal public affairs. The 
people remembered his great services in past times. 
But nobody consulted him on tribal matters in pres- 
ent times. Truly, in every way he never more was 
chief among the Cheyennes. 

Some Cheyennes who had run away or who could 
not be found, when we had been told we must go 
to the South, joined other tribes. Of these, some 
stayed away, others finally came back to us. Two of 
them came back to us on Tongue river. One was 
Joseph Tall White Man. He had dodged from the 
southern movement by escaping and joining the 
Blackfeet Sioux. The other was Little Crow. He 
had joined some tribe' of the Sioux. 

When I was thirty-one years old (1889) I en- 
listed with other Cheyennes to form a new band of 
scouts for the soldiers at Fort Keogh. For a long 
time we did not do much except to drill and work 
at getting out logs from the timber and building 
houses for ourselves. The soldier officers bought 
horses for us to ride. All of the new horses were 

333 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

wild. We had to break them. I got bucked off at 
times. But finally, all of us had horses that would 
not buck. 

I learned to drink whisky at Fort Keogh. The 
trader at the fort sold whisky and beer to the soldiers, 
but he was not allowed to sell anything of this kind 
to the Indians. That made only a little difference. 
White men not soldiers would get whisky for us when- 
even we had money to give to them. They may have 
bought it at the fort trader's store or it may have come 
from Miles City. I spent most of my scout pay for 
whisky. I never got into any trouble for being drunk, 
but sometimes an Indian did get into trouble. 

Tall Bull and some other scouts got drunk and 
went at night to where some soldiers were sleeping. 
The Cheyennes pointed their six-shooters at the sol- 
diers and said: "Give us blankets." The soldiers 
were scared, so blankets were given the Indians. A 
Sergeant went to tell the officers. A Lieutenant of- 
ficer came back with him. But the Lieutenant was 
as drunk as were the Indians. He went away with- 
out doing anything about the matter. 

We had plenty to eat at the fort. A soldier named 
Jules Chaudel was the cook for our thirty Cheyennes. 
A part of my work was to haul water in barrels for 
him. I never got so drunk that I forgot to keep the 

334 



HOME AGAIN ON TONGUE RIVER 

barrels filled. He often gave me meat when it was 
not time for the Indians to eat. 

All of the scouts went for making war the next 
year after I enlisted. We were taken to Pine Ridge 
reservation. We were told the Sioux were going to 
fight against the Cheyennes in that country, so we 
were willing to help our own people. Our scouts 
were led by an officer we knew as Big Red Nose.* 
Willis Rowland, the half -Cheyenne, was our Sergeant. 
Soldiers from some other fort came to Fort Keogh 
and went with us to Pine Ridge. 

When we got to Pine Ridge we learned that it 
was mostly the other Sioux tribes, not the Ogallalas, 
who were wanting to fight against the white people. 
The Cheyennes living there did not want any trouble, 
so the bad Sioux were angered also at the Cheyennes. 
Some Ogallalas joined the bad Indians. Our Chey- 
enne relatives had their lodges torn down and burned. 
Big Foot was the principal chief of the Sioux making 
the trouble. We knew him, and we were sorry at 
having to fight against him, but we were willing to 
be on the side of the whites and our own Cheyennes. 

We Cheyenne scouts did not get into any battle. 
At one time we were all dressed and ready, but the 
officers made us stop behind a hill while the soldiers 

* Lieutenant Casey. 

335 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

went on and killed many Sioux at a camp on a little 
valley just over the hill. A Sioux started that fight 
by killing an officer who was taking all guns from 
them. The soldiers then began to shoot, and many 
women and children as well as men were killed. This 
trouble was on Wounded Knee creek. At the time 
of our advance up the hill I was wearing a warbonnet 
for the first time at any battle. 

Big Red Nose, our officer, was killed by a Sioux 
before this fight. White Moon and Rock Roads, two 
of our scouts, were out riding somewhere with him. 
They saw four or five Sioux coming on horseback. 
The Sioux were riding slowly, and it appeared they 
did not intend any harm. But while Big Red Nose 
had his head turned in another direction one of the 
Sioux fired his rifle. The bullet went through the 
head of the officer, from back to front, and he fell 
dead from his horse. The two Cheyennes whipped 
their horses and got away. The Sioux scalped Big 
Red Nose and took all of his clothing. 

As the Wounded Knee fight was going on, the 
Sioux fled in all directions. The soldier officer now 
leading us was White Hat. He sent me out to a little 
hilltop to watch where the people running away 
might go. I saw one Sioux man ride to a big house. 
He limped when he got off and walked into the house. 
I told White Hat about him. After a while he got 

336 



HOME AGAIN ON TONGUE RIVER 

some soldiers, and all of us went to the place. From 
a distance, I called out in Sioux language for all 
people in the house to come out and surrender. No- 
body came out. We went close to the door. I called 
to ask how many people were in there. A man's 
voice answered me that there were three of them. 
I told him they must come out, but he did not answer 
me. White Hat knocked on the door. He knocked 
a second time and a third time. Then he and the 
soldiers smashed the door and went into the house. 
I followed them. 

A Sioux man was lying on a floor bed. A boy was 
lying on another floor bed. A woman was sitting 
beside the boy. The man had a sheet covering all 
of him but his head and neck. I did not know what 
else might be under the sheet, but I said: 

"You must give up your gun. You will be treated 
kindly." 

He at once drew a rifle out from under the sheet 
and handed it to me. We learned that he had bullet 
holes through both legs, but no bones were broken. 
The boy had been shot through the left arm. The 
woman was not injured. The soldiers got a wagon 
and took them to the agency. A soldier doctor there 
took care of them. 

The troublesome Sioux were gathered out in what 
the Indians knew as the Bad Lands. It was a very 

337 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

rough country having no trees and not much grass. 
The Cheyennes went out with soldiers and camped 
between the agency and that country. We kept 
watching to try to find out how many were there and 
how many were going there or coming back to the 
reservation. It was winter, and the wind blows hard 
there much of the time. We had some cold rides. 

One night our officer gave me a writing on paper 
and told me to take it to the agency. He had the 
interpreter explain to me which officer there was to 
receive it. The air was full of whirling snow. The 
gusts of wind appeared to come from everywhere 
except behind me. I wrapped my blanket tightly 
about me and kept my body humped up as my horse 
moved along the trail. At first I was not afraid, as 
it seemed the night was too stormy for any Sioux to 
be traveling. Then I began thinking that perhaps 
the Sioux might suppose the same thing about the 
Cheyennes and the soldiers, and so there might be 
many of them along the way. I was startled and my 
heart was jumping at every little doubtful sight or 
noise. But I could not do anything but keep on 
going. I tried to make myself feel better by thinking 
of what a good sleep I should have after so hard a 
ride. 

At the agency I found the officer and gave to him 
the paper. Then I lay down on the floor behind his 

338 



HOME AGAIN ON TONGUE RIVER 

stove and went to sleep. Pretty soon the interpreter 
awakened me. The officer wanted me. He said: 
"You are a good scout. I want you now to take a 
message for me back to your officer." I was yet half 
asleep. But right away I became all awake again 
and got myself ready to go. I was as much afraid on 
the way back as I had been in coming. The snow 
and the wind whirling it were the same. I did not 
freeze, though, and I got to our camp and gave this 
paper to my officer. He said: "Good. Now you 
may go and sleep." It was almost morning. I slept 
far into the day. Nobody awakened me this time. 

All of the scouts and Long Yellow Neck, the of- 
ficer now with us, were out one night after some 
Sioux who had been seen. The Cheyennes were 
afraid. We thought there might be many more Sioux 
not seen. I went off a little distance aside from the 
others, to look and listen where there was more 
quietude. I saw the flash of a match. I went cau- 
tiously in that direction. I got down into a deep 
gulch. I could hear Sioux voices talking above me. 
My heart seemed to be jumping all around in my 
breast. I kept still until the sound of the voices went 
beyond my hearing. I could not see anybody, but the 
sounds told me the direction the Sioux were traveling. 
I went back to the band and told of what had oc- 
curred. All of us then followed a trail along the rim 

339 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

of the gulch. It led us to two lodges. We surrounded 
them and then let them know we were there. They 
did not fight us. We captured ten Sioux. We made 
them give us their guns. I was one of ten scouts 
appointed to take them to the agency. 

Some Ogallalas were with the Cheyennes as scouts. 
All together our band must have numbered sixty or 
more. I do not know exactly how many there were 
of either Cheyennes or Ogallalas, but I know there 
were more of the Cheyennes. Three Cheyennes and 
three Ogallalas were sent out one night to watch the 
trails. I was one of the three Cheyennes. Long Yel- 
low Neck said: "I want you to find out how many 
bad Indians are going out from the reservation." 

The six of us got upon our horses and rode away 
together into the night storm. One Ogallala and I 
separated off and dismounted, to look and listen. We 
watched particularly for match lighting, as any Indian 
who had tobacco was likely to stop long enough to 
light a match for smoking. After a little while, we 
saw what we were looking for. We moved quickly, 
but carefully, toward where we had seen the flash. 
We heard voices. 

"Yes, they are Sioux," we whispered in agreement. 

We rejoined our companions and told them. 
Everybody said we ought to go back and tell the 
officer. All of us went then to our camp. An Ogal- 

340 



HOME AGAIN ON TONGUE RIVER 

lala knocked on the post at our officer's tent. "Come 
in," he said. All of us went into the warm shelter. 
Long Yellow Neck was writing. He put aside his 
paper and called the interpreter. We told what we 
had seen. 

"How many of them were there?" the officer asked 
one of the Ogallalas. 

"I don't know," the Indian replied. 

"You are foolish," the officer told him. 

He asked others. Each one said: "I don't 
know." I said the same. But we explained that it 
was too dark to see anybody, that only the flash of 
the match had been seen and the voices had been 
heard. The officer said: 

"Good. Now, all of you go out again. If you 
see any Sioux, count them." 

We found a fresh trail of horses going toward the 
Bad Lands. By a creek we saw that different camp- 
ings had been made. Many carcasses of cattle were 
there. They were white men cattle that had been 
stolen and butchered by the Sioux. 

We three Cheyennes separated off from the three 
Ogallalas. The two parties scouted at a little dis- 
tance from each other. After our three had traveled 
only a short while, I left my horse to be held by one 
of the others while I crept to the top of a bluff for 
looking and listening. A commonly traveled trail 

341 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

followed along past this bluff. Pretty soon I heard 
horses coming. I hugged close to the ground behind 
a rock. Four Sioux men rode past me toward the 
Bad Lands. They were almost close enough to reach 
out and strike me. I kept as still as the rock, except 
for my shivering from fright. When they were gone 
far enough I slid back a little distance and then 
jumped up and ran to my. two companions. We 
found the three Ogallalas. They also had seen the 
four men. All six of us hurried back to our camp. 
The others appointed me to do the talking for our 
report. I told of how I had hidden behind the rock 
and counted them as they had passed by me. "There 
were four of them," I said. Long Yellow Neck wrote 
my name on a piece of paper. Then he said: 
"Good. All of you may go now and sleep." 
I believe I slept, but I am not sure whether I was 
sleeping and dreaming or was only lying there and 
thinking. I kept my cartridge belt buckled on me 
and I hugged my rifle to my body. It seemed that 
angry Sioux Indians were all about me. They wfere 
searching for me, to kill me. Some of them were 
striking at me with war clubs and slashing at me with 
knives. I heard calling of my name: "Wooden Leg/* 
I jumped up and stood there wide awake. 

Long Yellow Neck and a soldier with him were 

342 



HOME AGAIN ON TONGUE RIVER 

in our tent. The soldier was reading off our names 
from a paper he had in his hands. 

"The same six are to go and scout again/' he said. 

Another Cheyenne was added to us. The seven 
of us got our horses. We were about to go when an 
Ogallala rode into camp. He had come from the 
agency. We wondered what was his errand. We 
waited to find out. He went to Long Yellow Neck's 
tent. Pretty soon everybody was saying: 

"All of the scouts and soldiers go back to Pine 
Ridge." 

I do not know how the others felt, but my own 
heart fluttered in pleasure. I did not want then to 
fight any Sioux. We were only a short time in get- 
ting all of the camp ready to move. When we were 
about to start on our way, Long Yellow Neck said: 
"Now, I want someone to stay behind and watch, to 
see if any of the Sioux are following us." He asked 
if I would stay. I said, "No, I do not want to stay 
behind." He asked Bad Horses, Foolish Man, White 
Bird, Sweet Grass and others. Some Ogallalas were 
asked. Everybody asked said, "No." While this 
was going on, three of the Ogallalas slipped away 
afoot, leaving their three horses. Long Yellow Neck 
told us he had thought all of us were brave men, but 
he had learned now that we were not brave. Finally 

343 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

I said: "I will stay behind and watch." Little Thun- 
der, an Ogallala, then said he would stay with me. 

We two caught the three horses left by the Ogal- 
lalas who had run away afoot. Little Thunder said: 
"I am hungry." I too was hungry, but we had no 
food. We drove the three horses ahead of us and 
hurried forward. Soon we caught up with the scouts 
and soldiers. "Give us something to eat," we asked. 
A soldier took a big box of crackers from a pack mule 
and gave it to us. He gave us also plenty of bread. 
We ate until we were full up, and then we put what 
was left upon one of the three horses we had been 
driving. We led the three now and followed on far 
behind the other people. 

The three Ogallalas afoot came to us. They asked 
us for bread and crackers. "If you will stay with 
us we will give you some," we told them. They 
agreed. We gave them all they wanted. We let 
them have their horses. They rode with us all of 
the remainder of the way to the agency, helping us 
in watching back to see if any Sioux were following. 
We kept ourselves far behind. None of us saw any 
of the bad Indians anywhere along the way. When 
we rode into the agency camp, all of the soldiers and 
scouts were already there. We told Long Yellow 
Neck that we had not seen any Sioux following us. 
He said: 

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HOME AGAIN ON TONGUE RIVER 

"Good. Now you may sleep.*' 

During the time we were scouting for the soldiers 
at Pine Ridge I got a Sioux head dress. It was a 
cap of some kind of skin having at its front a buffalo 
horn. I got it while the soldiers and scouts were 
camped on lower Wounded Knee creek. I was wear- 
ing it as I rode into camp. A soldier Sergeant said 
to me: "I wish you would give that to me." "What 
would you give to me?" I asked him. "Five dollars," 
he said. He gave me the five dollars and I gave him 
the buffalo horn head dress. 

About four hundred Cheyennes came with us when 
we left Pine Ridge to return to Fort Keogh. These 
were people of ours who had fled from the South with 
Little Wolf and Dull Knife, and who had been stay- 
ing since then among the Ogallalas on the Pine Ridge 
reservation. But now they were allowed to come and 
join the main body of Cheyennes in Montana. A 
few Cheyennes still remained with the Ogallalas, but 
this movement of the big band brought together what 
was considered to be the entire Northern Cheyenne 
tribe. An officer known to us as Small Chief * 
brought us back. 

Cheyenne visitors from the Rosebud and Tongue 
river lands were camped at all times near Fort Keogh. 
We scouts who had families kept lodges for them 

* Lieutenant McEniney. 

345 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

among the visiting campers. Relatives and friends 
were shifting constantly to or from the fort, Miles 
City and our Cheyenne country seventy miles south 
of us. I had my food with the other scouts, from the 
soldier supplies and at our eating room at the fort. 
But I spent much of my time at the home lodge. One 
day I saw the old man Little Wolf at the camp. I 
said to my wife: 

"I see Little Wolf. He is my relative. One of his 
wives is a sister of my father. I think I ought to in- 
vite him to eat at our lodge." 

"I am glad to hear you say that," she answered 
me. "Tell him to come now." Right away she be- 
gan to prepare bread and meat and coffee. 

When I brought Little Wolf I found he was partly 
drunk. He fumbled the food as he sat and ate. He 
ate freely, as though he were very hungry. He kept 
quiet and kept looking downward during all of the 
time. When he was done eating, I told him of my 
sympathy with him in his great trouble. He then 
told me all about the affair. "I loved the young 
man and all of his people," he said. "I was crazy 
when I shot him." At this time of conversation, 
Little Wolf was about seventy years old. 

This man gave away all of his horses after he had 
been put out of his position as our greatest chief. 
After that, all of his traveling was done afoot. Some- 

346 



HOME AGAIN ON TONGUE RIVER 

times he went alone, sometimes one or both of his 
wives accompanied him. They took along whatever 
packs they could carry, and they slept in temporary 
shelters or with no shelter. He went at times to visit 
the Crows. He visited also the Arapahoes, in Wyo- 
ming, walking two hundred miles or more and back 
again. He died in 1904, at the age of eighty-three 
years. His wives and close friends stood his dead 
body upright on a high hill overlooking the Rosebud 
valley, where many Cheyennes had their reservation 
homes. A great heap of stones was built up to en- 
close him thus standing upright. Twenty-four years 
later, his bones were brought to the agency cemetery 
and put into a grave there. Bird,* the old-time In- 
dian story white man who lives in New York, had a 
stone put at the head of this agency grave. 

Even the nearest relatives of Famished Elk never 
kept bad hearts against Little Wolf. At different 
times I have heard talk of him from Bald Eagle, a 
brother of the young man killed. Bald Eagle said: 

"Little Wolf did not kill my brother. It was the 
white man whisky that did it." 



Dr. George Bird Grinnell, the author. 

347 



XV 
A Tamed Old Man. 

Thirty years after the great battle against Custer, 
there was a gathering of Indians and white people 
at the Little Bighorn. Besides a few of our people, 
there were Crows, Sioux, Arapahoes, Shoshones, Nez 
Perces, Kiowas, Piegans, Gros Ventres and Paiutes, 
these last known to us as Fish-Eaters. 

All Cheyennes who had fought in the battle were 
asked to come and join the other Indians and the 
white people in a peace feast. The place is only two 
short days of wagon traveling from our Lame Deer 
agency. But only a few Cheyennes would go there 
for the gathering. Among us there was much of such 
talk as: "Soldiers will be there. Seeing us might 
anger them so much as to make them want to kill 
us." * Seven of us decided to go. These were the 
younger Chief Little Wolf, White Elk, Bobtail Horse, 
Two Moons, Buffalo Calf, myself Wooden Leg, and 
Brave Bear, a Southern Cheyenne. Four of the seven 
men took along their wives and their lodges. 

In a big council lodge of the Crows a white man 

* A few old Cheyennes still talked this way in 1026. Fear kept 
them from attending the fiftieth anniversary of the battle. T. B. M. 

348 



A TAMED OLD MAN 

medicine doctor * asked different ones to tell some- 
thing of the great battle. He said he had heard the 
white people say that Two Moons was a great war- 
rior there, and he asked Two Moons to make a speech. 
This Cheyenne stood up and talked a long time. He 
said he had been the big chief of all the Cheyennes 
during the fight. He filled the ears of his hearers 
with lots of other lies, while the rest of us laughed 
among ourselves about what he was saying. Other 
Cheyennes and Sioux were asked to get up and talk, 
but none of them would do so. 

The medicine doctor looked at my cousin, the 
younger Chief Little Wolf, and asked him: 

"Were you at the Custer battle?" 

"Yes." 

"Were you in the first fight above the camps?' 9 

"No." 

"Who took the soldier horses?" 

"The Sioux took most of them. The Cheyennes 
got a few. There were many Sioux and only a few 
Cheyennes in the fight." 

"Who took the soldier guns?" 

"The same the Sioux got many, the Cheyennes 
got a few." 

*Thc Cheyenne interpreter for them on that occasion informed me 
ibis man was Doctor Dixon. T. B. M. 

349 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

"Did you see Custer, either before or after he 
was killed?" 

"I do not know. Nobody knew anything about 
Custer." 

"Our soldiers afterward could not find the bodies 
of all the white men killed. What became of them?" 

"I do 'not know." 

"Were any of them taken away and hidden?" 

"I think not, but I do not know." 

"Were any of them, either dead or alive, taken to 
the camps?" 

"I think not. I never heard of any taken there." 

"Tell me all about what you saw and what you 
did at the battle." 

But Little Wolf would not tell. I said to him: 
"Go on, tell the truth, but do not talk like Two 
Moons did." He was afraid, though. There were 
many white people and soldiers all around us, and he 
feared they might become angry. 

White Elk, Bobtail Horse, Two Moons, Brave Bear, 
Buffalo Calf and the Sioux men all answered the same 
kind of questions in the same way. But none of them 
except Two Moons would say anything further about 
the fight. Bobtail Horse was either nervous or 
scared, so he got tangled a little. The doctor asked 
him the same kind of questions. Then he asked: 

"How old are you?" 

350 



A TAMED OLD MAN 

Bobtail Horse sat there as though he did not under- 
stand what was being asked. Pretty soon he began 
to count on his fingers. He counted them over and 
over. Finally he said: "I do not know." All of us 
knew exactly one another's age, but none of us inter- 
fered to help him in answering the question. The 
doctor did not ask him any further questions. 

In my turn at the talking I was asked the same 
kind of questions: 

"Wooden Leg, were you in the Custer battle?" 

"Yes, I was there." 

"Were you in the first fight up above the camps?" 

"Yes." 

"Good. How old were you at that time?" 

"Eighteen winters." 

"How old are you now?" 

"Forty-eight." 

"Good. Tell me where you were during all of the 
time. Tell me what you saw and what you did." 

I told him. It happened I was the only Indian at 
this gathering who had been in the first fight with 
what the white people call the Reno soldiers. It be- 
gan with my brother and I being awakened by the 
shooting and our running to get our horses. I fol- 
lowed my own doings up the valley and into the 
chase after the soldiers through the river and up the 
hill. I showed how I had taken a rifle from a soldier. 

351 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

I described the killing of the Corn Indian and my 
taking his gun. The doctor wrote on a piece of paper 
as I talked. My cousin Little Wolf interrupted me: 
"You tell too much. Stop talking." 

But I did not stop. It appeared none of the sol- 
diers nor other white people listening to me were 
angry. This medicine doctor looked to me like a 
good man, one who understood that we had killed 
soldiers who had come to kill us. I described to him 
the way I had helped to kill the soldier getting water 
at the river. I told about the Indians surrounding 
the Custer soldiers on the long ridge and about many 
things that happened there. The doctor still was 
writing on the paper. He broke in with some ques- 
tions and I answered each one as straight as I knew 
how to answer it. Little Wolf said to me: "Tell 
him Custer killed himself, and see if he becomes 
angry." But I did not say anything about that. 
Other Indians, at other times, had tried to tell of the 
soldiers killing themselves, but the white people lis- 
tening always became angry and said the Indians 
were liars, so I thought it best to keep quiet. Other 
questions came: 

"Did you see Custer?" 

"I suppose I did, but I do not know. I think that 
no Indians there knew anything about him being with 
the soldiers." 

352 



A TAMED OLD MAN 

"Did you see soldiers having special marks on the 
shoulders of their coats?" 

"Yes, I noticed some of them." 

"Did you know they were chiefs among the sol- 
diers?" 

"I did not know then, but I know now." 

"How many soldiers did you see having the mark- 
ings on the shoulders?" 

"I do not know. When we were fighting them they 
all looked alike to us, the same as a herd of buffalo." 

"How many Indians were killed?" 

I told him the number of dead Cheyennes, Uncpa- 
pas and others. 

"Good," he said, and he wrote the numbers on his 
paper. 

The Cheyennes and some other Indians went with 
a few soldiers to Fort Custer, not far from the place 
where had been the great battle. The soldier officers 
at the fort shook hands with all of us. We gathered 
together, and some friendly speeches were made by 
officers and by Indians. All I said there was: "A 
long time ago we were enemies. Today we are 
friends." The medicine doctor rode beside me as we 
were going to and from the fort. We made sign-talk 
together along the way. I showed him the only place 
where the Cheyenne tribe ever camped west of the 
Bighorn river. From the top of the Fort Custer hill 

353 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

we could see the place, just across from the mouth 
of the Little Bighorn. 

Many pictures were made of Cheyennes, Sioux, 
Nez Perces and Crows. Some were made on the 
valley and by the river where had been the first fight, 
others were made on the battle ridge and at its north- 
ern side. Pictures were made at night when the In- 
dians were dancing. The bright flashes scared some 
of the Indians, but soon it was learned what was 
being done. 

Wagons came loaded with rations. We were given 
plenty of beef, bacon, bread, crackers, coffee, sugar, 
meat in cans, and other food. We were on the valley 
by the river, where had been the fight with the Reno 
soldiers. A soldier officer rode about, saying: 

"All Indians who were in the Custer battle get 
rations. No others are to be given any food/' 

But when the distribution began, lots of Crows 
came running. They crowded forward saying: 

"Oh, meat! Give some to us." 

Their actions made me angry. I let loose my 
tongue: 

"You Crows you are like children. All Crows 
are babies. You are not brave. You never helped 
us to fight against the white people. You helped 
them in fighting against us. You were afraid, so you 

354 



A TAMED OLD MAN 

joined yourselves to the soldiers. You are' not 
Indians." 

Bobtail Horse said to me: "Ssh, keep your tem- 
per." My cousin Little Wolf said: "You are doing 
right. Tell them what we think of them." The 
Crows stopped asking for the rations. All of them 
went back and kept quiet. 

Besides the rations given to us every day, each of 
us was paid three dollars at the end of each day, for 
four days. When the gathering ended and we were 
getting ready to go back to our reservation, we were 
given plenty of extra food to eat along the way. Some 
of it was eaten by ourselves and our friends after we 
arrived home. 

Another great gathering of whites and Indians as- 
sembled there fifty years after the battle. All of the 
Cheyennes, particularly the men who had been in the 
battle, were invited to go. Many lodges of our people 
traveled over the divide to that place and camped 
there, but I stayed at my home. Two times I was 
called to our Ashland district telephone for a talk 
from the agency. "We want you to go to the great 
peace celebration," I was told. At each time of this 
talking I made reply: "I will think about it." The 
more I thought about it, the more I felt like staying 
away. The battlefield is on the present Crow Indian 

355 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

reservation. I do not want to go upon their lands. I 
have made up my mind never again to go to any place 
where I might be called upon to shake hands with 
a Crow. 

The younger Chief Little Wolf, my cousin, had 
the boyhood name Thorny Tree. His mother was 
a sister of my father and of the older Little Wolf's 
first wife. The young nephew Thorny Tree showed 
special bravery at a battle with the Shoshones. The 
old chief was so pleased at this manly conduct of 
his wife's relative that he told the young warrior: 

"I give you my name. From this day on you shall 
be Little Wolf." 

This younger man stayed with the Cheyennes at 
the Pine Ridge reservation, after the peaceful times 
came. Among them he was made a tribal chief. 
When the band of them were moved to our Tongue 
River reservation he was made a chief of the entire 
tribe. A few years later he was accepted as the prin- 
cipal old man chief. He told me that during the 
years he was living at Pine Ridge he often was mis- 
taken for the same Little Wolf who led the Chey- 
ennes in their flight from the South. In fact, he 
was with that band of fleeing Cheyennes, but he 
joined that group of them who went to Pine Ridge. 
The older Little Wolf and his last followers came 
to Powder river and on to Fort Keogh. The old 

356 



A TAMED OLD MAN 

chief never was at Pine Ridge after that time. 

My cousin told me that white people often em- 
barrassed him also in supposing him to have been 
famed as Chief Little Wolf at the Custer battle. In 
this case, the older man was not in the fight, he and 
a small band of Cheyennes having followed on the 
trail of the soldiers and having arrived at the camps 
after the white men all had been killed. The younger 
Little Wolf was already there with the great tribal 
assemblage. The family lodge of his father, Big 
Left Hand, was near to my own father's family lodge. 
This last Chief Little Wolf, my cousin, died in 1927, 
at the age of 76 years. 

I visited the Arapahoes and the Shoshones, in 
Wyoming, several years ago. Eight Cheyenne men, 
some of us with our wives and our tepees went on 
this trip. I had a Custer gun, borrowed from a 
Cheyenne who kept it in hiding. We saw a big 
band of elk in a valley of the Bighorn mountains. 
I was chosen to lead the hunters in getting ourselves 
close to them. I said: "Yes, I will lead, but you 
others must stay back until I tell you it is time for all 
to show themselves and begin to shoot." As we got 
well toward the elk band they suddenly ran away 
into a forest. I soon learned that one of our men 
had pushed on ahead and frightened them. "You 
are foolish/* was all I could say to him. We saw 

357 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

trails of other elk, plenty of them, but we did not see 
any others of the elk themselves. 

High up on the top of a rocky bluff we saw a big- 
horn, what the white people call a mountain sheep. 
Different ones of us shot at it and missed it. An- 
other man and I then shot, at the same moment. The 
animal tumbled down the mountain. When we got 
to it we found that both of our bullets had struck 
the front part of its body. We enjoyed that meat. 
It was the first bighorn meat I had eaten for several 
years. 

Nine sleeps we made on our way to the reservation 
where we were going. We stopped with the Arapa- 
hoes, good friends of the Cheyennes all during the 
old times. There had been friendly intermarriages 
between our people and theirs. There was much of 
inquiring about Arapahoes living among us on our 
reservation. These people made gifts to us. They 
could not give much, because they were as poor as 
the Cheyennes. 

We moved camp for a visit with the Shoshones. 
In the old times they and the Cheyennes were con- 
stantly on terms of enmity. But now they received 
us cordially. From all sides came, "How," "How," 
"How." An old chief of theirs went riding among 
them and calling out: "Everybody come and shake 

358 



A TAMED OLD MAN 

hands with our guests, the Cheyennes. Let them 
know we are glad they came to visit us/' 

Men, women, old people, boys, girls, all moved 
along past our group and greeted us with hand- 
shakes. They brought food. There were big piles 
of all kinds of things the Indians like to eat. After 
a while, they began to bring horses. One after an- 
other they kept giving these to us. Every Cheyenne 
among us had more horses than he could lead, when 
we parted from the Shoshones. I had nine of them 
presented to me. When we got back among our own 
people at home we were the richest Indians in our 
tribe. We had horses to give away to our friends. 
All of the Cheyennes agreed that the Shoshones have 
good hearts, that they are a good people. 

An Arickaree Indian visited me at my place on 
Tongue river a few years ago. We talked of the 
Custer battle. He told me one of their chiefs had 
been killed there. He described him. The special 
features of his war clothing were a fine buckskin 
shirt and a necklace made of bear claws. I described 
to him the Arickaree I had helped to kill. This one 
had on a buckskin shirt. An eagle feather stood up 
from his back hair. A red string tied his hair to- 
gether behind. If he had a bear-claw necklace I did 
not see it. I did not see this kind of necklace on 

359 



A WABRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

any of the three Arickarees I saw dead. It may be 
one of the other two had one and it had been taken 
from him before I saw the dead body. 

I went to Washington when I was fifty-five years 
old. Little Wolf, Two Moons and Black Wolf were 
old men with me as delegates to speak for our tribe. 
Three younger men who could talk the white man 
language went with us. They were Willis Rowland, 
Ben Shoulderblade and Milton Little White Man. 
At a meeting with white men, there were some 
speeches made. Two Moons did most of the talking 
for us. The rest of us did not care to make any 
long talks. Two Moons told these people he was a 
big chief leading all of the Cheyennes at the Custer 
battle. None of us said anything in dispute of him 
at the meeting, but when we got away to ourselves 
Black Wolf said to him: "You are the biggest liar 
in the whole Cheyenne tribe. 5 ' Two Moons laughed 
and replied: "I think it is not wrong to tell lies to 
white people." 

The same white man medicine doctor who had 
been at the gathering by the Little Bighorn was in 
Washington. He was good to us, helping us to see 
the strange sights in the big city. He could make 
good signs, so he and I talked much together. We 
went up to the top of a very tall stone he said was 
Washington's monument. We rode up to the top 

360 




Photo by Hogan 

WOODEN LEG, HIS WIFE AND THEIR DAUGHTER, IN 1914 



A TAMED OLD MAN 

and walked a long and winding stairway to the 
bottom. 

A big ship took us Cheyennes out upon the great 
water. All of us became sick and vomited. "It is 
the same as whisky," we said to each other. The 
ship took us to New York. There we visited our 
friend Bird, the old-time Indian story white man. 
The white man medicine doctor was traveling with 
us. He went with us on to Philadelphia, where we 
visited the biggest trader store I ever saw. In a the- 
ater in this city we sat upon a platform before a 
great crowd of white people. I was asked to make 
a speech. I talked, but only for a short time. One 
of our interpreters repeated to them what I said. 
This visit to the great cities was at some time during 
the spring (1913), in March or April, I believe. 

I lied to one man in New York. He asked me 
many questions. For a while I answered them as 
best I could. But it began to appear he was trying 
to show the old-time Indians as being low and mean 
people. I had told him a great deal about the fight- 
ing, about the taking of horses and saddles and guns, 
about other matters of this kind. I found I did not 
like him, so I decided to end our talk. 

"What time of day was it when all of the Custer 
soldiers had been killed?" he asked me. 

"I don't know," I answered him. 

361 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

"Did the Indians keep the money they took from 
the soldiers?" 

"I don't know." 

"Did you get any of it?" 

"I don't know." 

After these answers he quit talking to me and went 
away. 

The medicine doctor friend came several years 
afterward from Washington to our Lame Deer 
agency. I saw and talked with him here. I still 
keep a big flag he gave to me. I liked him. He was 
a good man, one having a heart good toward Indians. 

The guns taken by Cheyennes from the Custer 
soldiers were given up or had been thrown away by 
those of our people who surrendered at the White 
River agency. I think that all of the Sioux also had 
to give their guns of all kinds to the soldiers chiefs 
at their reservations. But at Fort Keogh General 
Miles was good to the Cheyennes. He allowed them 
to keep their guns. I suppose that many Indians 
threw away their Custer guns, for fear of being found 
out and punished for having killed those soldiers. 
But the Fort Keogh Cheyennes kept theirs hidden. A 
few of these have been buried with the owners who 
died. But even to this day, I know of several of the 
Glister rifle guns hidden among the people on our 
reservation. White Elk and Spotted Wolf used to 

362 



A TAMED OLD MAN 

have Ouster soldier six-shooters. These two men 
are dead. I do not know what became of their six- 
shooters. The Cheyennes also have yet some of the 
Custer soldier ammunition belts and saddle-bags. 
They do not like to tell of having these captured war 
things, because there are some white people who 
become angry when they talk of the old times of war- 
fare between the whites and the Indians.* 

I have yet four of the ten arrows I made from 
the cattle neckyoke picked up at the town when we 
were on our way to the South. For keeping my 
comb and paints I have a flat pouch made from a 
bootleg. The boots I got at the White River agency 
the next day after my hunting party went there to 
surrender. Another young man and I were walking 
in the neighborhood of the soldier tents there. I 
found a pair of soldier boots among some other arti- 
cles also cast aside by the white men. The soles 
were worn, but the tops were good. I knew how to 
make use of them. I cut off the worn bottom parts 
and kept the tops. My mother sewed one of them 
into the pouch. I know of some Cheyennes who 
still have such carriers made from bootlegs of Custer 
soldiers. 

* During 1926 and 1927 I came into possession of six carbines, three 
ammunition belts, one full pair of saddle-bags and one half-pair of 
same, that these Fort Keogh Cheyennes had kept hidden ever since 
their having been taken from the Custer soldiers in 1876. T.B.M. 

363 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

I lost the medicine pipe given to me by the Ogal- 
lala Sioux man at the White River agency. That 
was my second medicine pipe. The third one came 
to me when I was somewhere past forty years old. 
An Uncpapa Sioux visiting me at my place gave it 
to me. I still have it. It is made of the red stone 
found in their part of the country. After he had 
given to me this pipe I went on a journey into the 
Bighorn mountains. There I got some blue stone 
of the kind used for making Indian pipes. I made 
two of them. I now have three pipes, one red one 
and two blue ones. I have kept all three of them 
for several years, and I do not expect to sell any 
of them. 

I was baptized by the priest at the Tongue river 
mission when I was almost fifty years old. My wife 
and our two daughters were baptized too. I think 
the white people pray to the same Great Medicine 
we do in our old Cheyenne way. I do not go often 
to the church, but I go sometimes. I think the white 
church people are good, but I do not believe all of 
the stories they tell about what happened a long time 
ago. The way they tell us, all of the good people 
in the old times were white people. I am glad to 
have the white man churches among us, but I feel 
more satisfied when I make my prayers in the way 
I was taught to make them. My heart is much more 

364 



A TAMED OLD MAN 

contented when I sit alone with my medicine pipe 
and talk with the Great Medicine about whatever 
may be troubling me. 

Our old ways of worship were kept up through 
several years after we came to this reservation. Our 
Great Medicine dances and other old ceremonies were 
carried out as we had them in the days when we 
traveled over the whole hunting region. Then the 
government compelled us to quit them. I think this 
was not right. Lately, though, the conditions have 
changed. We were allowed to have our Great Medi- 
cine dance in 1927, again in 1928 and in 1929. 

We had good medicine men in the old times. It 
may be they did not know as much about sickness 
as the white men doctors know, but our doctors knew 
more about Indians and how to talk to them. Our 
people then did not die young so much as they do 
now. In present times our Indian doctors are put 
into jail if they make medicine for our sick people. 
Whoever of us may become sick or injured must have 
the agency white man doctor or none at all. But he 
can not always come, and there are some who do not 
like him. I think it is best and right if each sick 
one be allowed to choose which doctor he wants. 
When Eddy was agent he let us keep our own old 
ways in all these matters. Our people liked him the 
best of all the agents we have had. 

365 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

A policeman came to my place, one time, and told 
me that Eddy wanted to see me at the agency office. 
He did not say what was wanted. I thought : "What 
have I done?" I went right away. I never had been 
much about the agency, and I did not know Eddy 
very well. But the people all the time were saying 
he was a good man, so I was not afraid. When I 
got there, a strange white man was at the office. The 
interpreter told me this man was from Washington. 
Eddy and the other man talked to me a little while, 
about nothing of importance. Then Eddy said: 

"We want you to be judge." 

The Indian court was held at the agency. My 
home place was where it now is, over a divide from 
the agency and on the Tongue river side of the reser- 
vation. I accepted the appointment. I was paid ten 
dollars each month for going to the agency and at- 
tending to the court business one or two times each 
month. Not long after I had been serving as judge, 
Eddy called me into his office. He said: 

"A letter from Washington tells me that Indians 
having two or more wives must send away all but 
one. You, as judge, must do your part toward seeing 
that the Cheyennes do this." 

My heart jumped around in my breast when he 
told me this. He went on talking further about the 
matter, but I could not pay close attention to him. 

366 



A TAMED OLD MAN 

My thoughts were racing and whirling. When I 
could get them steady enough for speech, I said to 
him: 

"I have two wives. You must get some other man 
to serve as judge." 

He sat there and looked straight at me, saying 
nothing for a little while. Then he began talking 
again: 

"Somebody else as judge would make you send 
away one of your wives. It would be better if you 
yourself managed it. All of the Indians in the United 
States are going to be compelled to put aside their 
extra wives. Washington has sent the order." 

I decided to keep the office of judge. It appeared 
there was no getting around the order, so I made up 
my mind to be the first one to send away my extra 
wife, then I should talk to the other Cheyennes about 
the matter. I took plenty of time to think about 
how I should let my wives know about what was 
coming. Then I allowed the released one some 
further time to make arrangements as to where she 
should go. The first wife, the older one, had two 
daughters. The younger wife had no children. It 
seemed this younger one ought to leave me. I was 
in very low spirits. When a wagon came to get her 
and her personal packs I went out and sat on a knoll 
about a hundred yards away. I could not speak to 

367 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

her. It seemed I could not move. All I could do 
was just sit there and look down at the ground. She 
went back to her own people, on another reservation. 
A few years later I heard that she was married to a 
good husband. Oh, how glad it made my heart to 
hear that! 

I sent a policeman to tell all Cheyennes having 
more than one wife to come and see me. One of 
them came that same afternoon. After we had 
smoked together, I said: 

"The agent tells me that I as the judge must order 
all Cheyennes to have only one wife. You must 
send away one of yours/* 

"I shall not obey that order," he answered me. 

"Yes, it will have to be that way," I insisted. 

"But who will be the father to the children?" he 
asked. 

"I do not know, but I suppose that will be 
arranged." 

"Wooden Leg, you are crazy. Eddy is crazy." 

"No. If anybody is crazy, it is somebody in 
Washington. All of the Indians in the United States 
have this order. If we resist it, our policemen will 
put us into jail. If much trouble is made about it, 
soldiers may come to fight us. Whatever man does 
not put aside his extra wife may be the cause of the 
whole tribe being killed. 

368 



A TAMED OLD MAN 

Many of our men were angered by the order. My 
heart sympathized with them, so I never became of- 
fended at the strong words they sometimes used. 
Finally, though, all of them sent away their extra 
wives. Afterward, from time to time, somebody 
would tell me about some man living a part of the 
time at one place with one wife and a part of the 
time at another place with another wife. I just lis- 
tened, said nothing, and did nothing. These were 
old men, and I considered it enough of change for 
them that they be prevented from having two wives 
at the same place. At this present time I know of 
only one old Cheyenne man who has two wives. They 
are extremely old, are sisters, and they have been 
his two wives for sixty or more years. He stays a 
part of the time with one of them and a part of the 
time with the other. The sister-wives visit each 
other, but they have different homes, several miles 
apart. 

Throughout ten years I kept the position of judge. 
I rode my horse or went in my wagon to the agency 
once or twice each month. It became tiresome to 
me. Eddy went away, and we had another agent. 
I decided to resign, and I did so. After I had been 
out of the office a few years there was another change 
in agents. The man we now have, the one we have 
named Sioux Agent, was put in charge of our reser- 

369 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

vation. One day, Sioux Agent sent a message call- 
ing me to his office. 

"I want you to be judge again," he said. "You 
will be paid twenty-five dollars each month." 

That was better than the ten dollars each month I 
had been paid during the ten years of my first service. 
I took his offer. So now, in my old age, I am helping 
my people to learn the ways of the white man govern- 
ment. For the old people, it is a great change, so I 
try to apply my thoughts at teaching the young Chey- 
ennes whatever I am expected to teach. 

I was chosen two times as a little chief of the 
Elk warriors, in the old times. But in each instance 
I got somebody else to take my place. Also, at two 
different times of election of tribal chiefs, since we 
have been on the reservation, a band of warriors 
came to me and said: "We want you to be a big chief 
of the tribe." But I did not want to have that posi- 
tion, so in each instance I told my friends to choose 
some other man, some one who would like to have 
it. Some white people, at different times, have called 
me, "Chief Wooden Leg." But I never was a chief, 
neither of my warrior society nor of the tribe. 

My younger brother's name was Twin. When he 
grew up to manhood he went from here to the Minne- 
conjoux Sioux. There he was appointed a police- 
man. He continued in that duty until his death, a 

370 



A TAMED OLD MAN 

few years age. My mother died here at my home, on 
the Tongue river reservation. My younger sister and 
myself are the only members of my father's family 
yet living. This sister is the wife of Little Eagle. 
Their farm place is only a few miles down the valley 
from mine. 

Both of my daughters went to school at the Tongue 
river mission. They lived there during the school 
months. Each Sunday we were allowed to take them 
to our home. At other times we might go to the 
mission and see them for a few minutes. Later, I 
built a house only a quarter of a mile from the Mis- 
sion, and on a sloping hillside above it. We could 
look from our front door and see the children at any 
time when they might be outside of the school build- 
ings. My wife an " I were pleased at their situation 
in life. "They will l*ave more of comfort and happi- 
ness than we have had," we said to each other. 

But the younger daughter fell into an illness when 
she was about fourteen years old. We expected she 
soon would be herself again, but she grew worse 
instead of better. She became so weak she could not 
stay any longer at the school. She continued to go 
on downward after we brought her to our home. 
Finally, her spirit went back to the Great Medicine. 

All of our love now was fixed upon the other 
daughter. She advanced to full young womanhood. 

371 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

She could read the white man books, and she could 
write letters to our friends far away. But she too 
became ill, the same as her younger sister. During 
all of one winter she gradually wasted away. Every 
afternoon her body burned with fever. Every night 
her bed was soaked with the sweating. Every morn- 
ing she coughed almost to strangling. Neither the 
medicines of the agency physician nor the prayers of 
our own medicine men could help her. Just when 
the spring grass was coming up, she was buried in our 
mission cemetery. 

My heart fell down to the ground. I decided then 
that the white man school is not good for Indian 
children. I think they do not get enough of meat at 
the boarding schools. I think too that they are kept 
in school too much during each year. They ought 
to be out and free to go as they please during all of 
the good weather of the autumn and the spring. It 
may be that white children can stand it to be in 
school most of the year. I do not believe, though, 
that Indian children can stand it. It is not good 
sense to have the whites and the Indians living by 
the same rules. 

My sister's daughter and her husband had pity 
for me and my wife. They gave to us their oldest 
son. He makes his home with us. On the agency 
roll his name is Joseph White Wolf. But according 

372 



A TAMED OLD MAN 

to the Indian way he is our boy, our grandson. He is 
a good boy, comforting and helpful to us. I pray 
often that he may become a good man, may get a good 
wife, may have many children and may live far into 
old age. 

My farming land is back from the valley, on a 
creek flowing into Tongue river. Each year I have 
some alfalfa hay and some oats or wheat, or both. I 
have a garden of vegetables, including an acre or 
more of corn for our own food. All together, twenty- 
one acres was the most land I had in cultivation in 
one season. That was a few years ago. I do not have 
that much now. I become tired more quickly than 
I did in past times. It appears my legs are not now 
made of wood, as they used to be. 

I get pension money each month because of my 
service as a scout at Fort Keogh. For a while it was 
twenty dollars monthly. Then it was increased to 
tliirty dollars. Now it is forty dollars. As I grow 
older it will be further increased. My pay as judge 
added to this pension money makes enough for me 
to buy food and clothing for my wife and boy, without 
need for farming. But I like to have more than I 
need, so I can help my friends. I can not do this 
many more years. 

A few other old Cheyennes get the pension money. 
We few are the rich men of our tribe of very poor 

373 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

people. Many of our old men and women have a 
hard time getting enough food. Some white people 
say to them: "You have good land, so you ought 
to be prosperous/* They appear not to understand 
that Indians are not horn farmers. Besides, many 
among us are older than I am. Even if these did 
know how to farm, they have not the strength to 
do it. 

Another thing the white people appear not to 
understand: The old Indian teaching was that it is 
wrong to tear loose from its place on the earth any- 
thing that may be growing there. It may be cut off, 
but it should not be uprooted. The trees and the 
grass have spirits. Whatever one of such growths 
may be destroyed by some good Indian, his act is 
done in sadness and with a prayer for forgiveness 
because of his necessities, the same as we were taught 
to do in killing animals for food or skins. We revere 
especially the places where our old camp circles used 
to be set up and where we had our old places of 
worship. There are many of such spots on our reser- 
vation. White people look at them and say: "These 
Indians are foolish. There is good land not plowed.'* 
But we like to see these places as they were in the 
old times. They help to keep in our hearts a remem- 
brance of the virtues of the good Cheyennes dead and 
gone from us. 

374 



XVI 

Clearing the Docket. 

Cheyennes still disagree among themselves about 
the number of sleeps the combined tribes stayed at 
different camps along the way from east of Powder 
river to the Little Bighorn and back again to the 
Powder river country. For a long time there was 
disagreement as to the length of time we had been at 
the battle camp before the Custer soldiers came. 
Some said we had been there only one sleep, others 
said two sleeps. This dispute was settled, though, 
several years ago, when a band of Ogallalas visited us 
on this reservation. In a great gathering with them 
at our Lame Deer agency there was a general rehears- 
ing of the battle at the Little Bighorn. Little Hawk, 
a Cheyenne, spoke of us having slept there two nights 
before the soldiers came. Somebody corrected him: 

"We had slept there only one night." 

"I bet you we had been there two sleeps, 59 Little 
Hawk replied. He spread out a blanket and laid 
upon it some money. 

His money was matched. Other bets were made, 
by other Indians differing in their beliefs on the sub- 

375 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

ject Old men then were called upon, one after 
another, to tell what was in their memories concern- 
ing the question. White Elk, young Chief Little 
Wolf, Wooden Leg, various other old Cheyennes and 
several of the old Sioux, all were asked for expres- 
sions of their beliefs. Each one of them said: 

"One sleep." 

Little Hawk and his supporters finally had to admit 
themselves mistaken. In the general exchange of 
talk, many corroborating incidents were mentioned. 
There came then a full agreement that we had been 
in this camp only one night, that the soldiers attacked 
us the next morning, that after the fighting had ended 
we moved our camps a short distance northwestward 
and stayed there all of this night, and that in the late 
afternoon of the day after the great battle we left 
the place and traveled all night and all the next day 
up the Little Bighorn valley. Of the two nights at 
the battle place, one had been at the first camping 
spot where the soldiers attacked us and the other had 
been at the second camping spot, a short distance 
away, where we moved on account of our death 
losses. 

For fifty years we old Cheyennes talked of Bear 
Coat, or General Miles, as having been big chief of 
the soldiers who came up the Little Bighorn valley 

376 



CLEARING THE DOCKET 

the next day after the Ouster battle.* We have been 
corrected by our present white man doctor friend. 
He informs us that General Miles did not come into 
this country until more than a month after that time* 
He says that a General Terry and a General Gibbon 
were the chiefs of these soldiers. I never before had 
heard of either ofthese two men. 

I never had heard of any of General Glister's rela- 
tives having been killed with him, until our present 
white man doctor friend told us about the two 
brothers and the brother-in-law and the nephew. He 
tells us also that General Cluster's body was not cut 
up. I do not know why he was spared, if such was 
the case. I never heard of any f avorings of any dead 
man there. I do not know of any reason for inten- 
tional difference in treatment of them. 

It was not then known to us who was the chief of 
these white men soldiers. It was not known to us 
where they had come from. We supposed them to 
be the same men we had fought on the Rosebud, eight 
days before. We had not known who was the chief 
of those soldiers on the Rosebud. I never heard any 
Indians at that time guessing as to who he may have 
been. It made no difference to us. 

*lhia mistake of the old Cheyennes arose from their having found 
Miles in command of the soldiers at Fort Keogh when they surren- 
dered there in 187T. They supposed, and kept right on supposing, that 
Be had been the leader of the Yellowstone river soldiers who came up 
the Bighorn and the Little Bighorn in June, 1876. T. B. M . 

377 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

I have been told that certain different ones of 
Indians have claimed special honor for having killed 
Custer himself. All such men are only boasting to 
get attention. There was no talk of this kind during 
the hours and days right after the battle. If there 
had been, all of us would have known of it. I tell 
you again: None of us knew anything about Custer 
being there. The few Southern Cheyennes and the 
few Sioux warriors who had seen him in earlier times 
did not learn until many weeks later that he had been 
killed in this battle. It was weeks or months later 
when the most of us first learned that there ever was 
such a man. The white people, not the Indians, told 
us. 

Even if some white man soldier in the battle had 
been well known to all of the Indians it would have 
been hard to recognize him there. During the first 
hour or two of the fighting we were too far away to 
single out and recognize any particular one. As we 
got close, the air became more and more full of smoke 
and dust. The Indians were greatly excited. All of 
the white men went crazy. It must have been that 
not any one of them looked like his natural self. I 
believe that not any warrior then was thinking of 
trying to find out which one was the chief of the 
soldiers nor which soldier might be a past acquaint- 
ance. Every fighter, on both sides, was sweating and 

378 



CLEARING THE DOCKET 

dust-covered. The dead soldiers were dirty and 
bloody. Very soon, they were much worse than that. 
Their best friends would not have known them. 

Of the thirty Indians killed in both fights, I be- 
lieve about half fell from the bullets of the Custer 
men. Of these fifteen or so killed by the Custer men, 
there were more of them fell during the first close 
fighting, when Lame White Man led us and himself 
was killed, down toward the river, than fell at any 
other one section of the field. The soldiers in the en- 
tire battle with the Custer men could have killed a 
great many more of us, or we should have gone away 
and left them after some further fighting, if their 
whisky had not made them go crazy and shoot them- 
selves. I do not know just how many of them we 
killed, but I believe the number was not more than 
twenty or thirty, all together. Some of these were 
during the slow distant shooting time and some were 
after we had gone among them and found badly 
wounded men to kill at once. There was no captur- 
ing alive. I did not hear any Indian talk of wanting 
to make such capture. 

All of our dead Cheyennes were found, were taken 
away and were buried. I am not sure about all of die 
Sioux dead, but it seems they all must have been 
found, as there was the remainder of that afternoon 
and much of the next day to make search. The three 

379 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT OJSTER 

dead Corn Indians I saw were left where t&y had 
been killed. 

None of the duster soldiers came any closer to the 
river than they were at the time they died. When the 
first Indians went out and met them, and exchanged 
shots with them, these soldiers were riding along 
the ridge far out northeastward.* They kept moving 
westward along its crest until they spread out on the 
ridge lower down, the ridge where the most of the 
battle took place. After about an hour and a half 
of the slow fighting at long distances, the group of 
forty soldiers who rode down from the ridge along 
a broad coulee and toward the river were charged 
upon by Lame White Man, followed at once by many 
Cheyennes and Sioux. This place of the first Indian 
charge and the first sudden great victory is inside of 
the present fence around the battlefield and at its 
lower side. 

The most important warrior among the Cheyennes 
was Lame White Man. I believe all of our old men 
consider him so. Next in importance and usefulness 
were Old Man Coyote; leading chief of the Crazy 
Dog warriors, Last Bull, leading chief of the Fox 
warriors, and Crazy Head, one of our tribal chiefs 
who had been a warrior society chief when he was a 

* Many Coster rifle shells have been found scattered along this high 
far-out ridge, by J. A. Blummer and other residents. T. B. M. 

380 



CLEARING THE DOCKET 

younger man. The first Indians to go across the 
river and fire upon the Custer soldiers far out on the 
ridge were two Sioux and three Cheyennes. These 
three Cheyennes were Roan Bear, Buffalo Calf and 
Bobtail Horse. This last named man is still living, 
his home being on the Rosebud side of our reserva- 
tion. 

Two Moons used to tell white people of his own 
great importance in the battle. I believe he was 
brave, like many others there, but he was not thought 
of as being very important. He was one of the nine 
little chiefs of the Fox warriors. The only special 
way I heard him talked about was concerning his hav- 
ing a repeating rifle, the only one of such guns among 
the Cheyennes in this battle. When the smaller part 
of our Cheyenne tribe surrendered to General Miles, 
at Fort Keogh, Two Moons was chosen by him as 
their one big chief. For several years those Indians 
were governed by General Miles. From time to time, 
in the years following, others of our people were 
added to these. The coining of Little Wolf made a 
difference, but he lost his place when he killed the 
Cheyenne. When all of the tribe finally were as- 
sembled on the present reservation, the Fort Keogh 
officers and the government agents still kept Two 
Moons as the one big chief over all of us. I do not 
know of there being among us any great dissatisfac- 

381 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT COSTER 

tion because of this, but I do know that it was General 
Miles, not the Cheyennes, who selected him as our 
leader. 

There are yet living (1930) among the Cheyennes 
more than twenty men and about the same number 
of women who were full-grown people with us in the 
camp beside the Little Bighorn. I suppose that each 
tribe of the Sioux have, in proportion, the same ntim- 
bers. We have many more who were children in the 
camp and who remember much of what was done at 
that time. Last Bull, leading chief of the Fox war- 
riors, took his family and joined the Crows after the 
days of peace came. His two daughters married 
Crow men. The scared and screaming girl I took 
upon my horse when the soldiers burned our forty 
lodges on Powder river has become an old woman, 
a Cheyenne-Crow woman. She is known to the white 
people as Mrs. Passes. 

Every time I have been where white people have 
been asking questions about the Custer battle, some- 
body has wanted to know: 

"Where was Sitting Bull during the fight?" 

For a long time I did not understand why this ques- 
tion was pressed so strongly. Then I learned that 
white people had been saying: "Sitting Bull was a 
coward. He was not with the warriors f in the 
fighting." 

382 



CLEARING THE DOCKET 

I do not know where he was. I had not thought 
about trying to find out. I suppose he was helping 
the women and children and old people, where he 
belonged. He had a son in the fight. Any man hav- 
ing a son serving as a warrior was expected to stay 
out of battles and give the son his chance to get war- 
rior honors. Lame White Man, the Southern Chey- 
enne tribal chief who was killed, went into the fight 
because of his having no son there. I suppose it was 
the same with Chief Crazy Horse, of the Ogallalas, 
and Chief Hump Nose, of the Arrows All Gone. I 
do not know of any other tribal chiefs or old men 
having mixed into the battle. My father stayed in 
the camps, but his staying there was not on account 
of personal fear. 

I am not ashamed to tell that I was a follower of 
Sitting Bull. I have no ears for hearing anybody 
say he was not a brave man. He had a big brain and 
a good one, a strong heart and a generous one. In 
the old times I never heard of any Indian having 
spoken otherwise of him. If any of them changed 
their talk in later days, the change must have been 
brought about by lies of agents and soldier chiefs 
who schemed to make themselves appear as good men 
by making him appear as a bad man. 

It is comfortable to live in peace on the reserva- 
tion. It is pleasant to be situated where I can sleep 

383 



A WARRIOR WHO FOUGHT CUSTER 

soundly every night, without fear that my horses may 
be stolen or that myself or my friends may be crept 
upon and killed. But I like to think about the old 
times, when every man had to be brave. I wish I 
could live again through some of the past days when 
it was the first thought of every prospering Indian to 
send out the call: 

"Hoh-oh-oh-oh, friends: Come. Gome. Come. 
I have plenty of buffalo meat. I have coffee. I have 
sugar. I have tobacco. Come, friends, feast and 
smoke with me." 

THE END 



384 



Legend for opposite map: A. Near the present-day Crow 
Agency, Montana. 

1. Uncpapa camp circle. 

2. Blackfeet Sioux camp circle. 

3. Minneconjoux camp circle. 

4. Arrows All Gone camp circle. 

5. Ogallala camp circle. 

6. Cheyenne camp circle. 

Arrows * show Reno troops 9 advance and 
retreat. 

7. Reno battle line, for a few minutes. 

8. Present Garryowen railroad station. 

9. Reno entrenchment hill, after retreat across the river. 

10. Present Custer monument, in field enclosed by fence. 

11. Broad coulee of Medicine Tail creek just across east from 

Cheyenne camp circle. _ 

The long links, ^ **" *" ' -* show approach of 
Custer troops, moving northwestward, along a high ridge. 
Scattered crossmarks, x x x, show where irregular sec- 
ond camps of Indians were placed. 
Little Bighorn river flowing northwestward. 
Indians forded river at Medicine Tail coulee and also 
went along hills from Reno hill, 9, to intercept Custer 
soldiers. 




CAMP SITES AND OTHER SALIENT POINTS IN VICINITY or 
CUSTER BATTLEFIELD, MONTANA. 



Legend for opposite map: A. Present-day Miles City, Montana. 
B. Present-day Hardin, Montana. C. Near the present- 
day Sheridan, Wyoming. 

1. Cheyenne camp whipped out and burned, on Powder river, 

just above mouth of Little Powder river, March 17, 1876. 

2. Where Cheyennes joined the Ogallala band. 

3. Where Ogallalas and Cheyennes together joined Sitting Bull's 

Uncpapas. Minneconjoux Sioux also came here, making 
four separate camp circles. 

4. Arrows All Gone Sioux joined here, making five camp circles. 

5. Powder river. Blackfeet Sioux made here the sixth camp 

circle. Other small bands had come, but not enough for 
tribal camp circles. 

6. Camp at Tongue river. 

7. Upper Wood creek, where they stayed five or six days, for a 

great buffalo hunt. 

8. The six camp circles on the Rosebud river, about May 19th. 

9. Where the Uncpapas had their sun dance, in early June. 

10. Reno creek camp, from which the Indians went out at night 

to fight Crook's soldiers, on the upper Rosebud. 

11. Site of the Crook fight, on the upper Rosebud, June 17th. 

12. Custer battle, June 25th. 

All moved away together, in the same six tribal camp cir- 
cles, until they arrived back at 3, east of Powder river. 
Here the great combined camp was broken up, and the 
tribes separated, about July 15th. 




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